Archived Summaries of Conversations About the Future
President's Staff Forum Conversation About the Future - Community Building, August 9, 2000 This Staff Conversation was held in Kane Hall 120. Teresa Dougherty, Office of Regional Affairs, facilitated with department members Susan Freccia, Aaron Hoard and Jennifer Hay on hand as experts.
What does "community" mean?
How should we improve this community?
What would you say about UW in relation to the community?
150 staff members from a variety of on and off-campus departments -- new hires, contractors, long-timers, classified, professional, clerical, managerial, technical, and service departments (e.g., trades) -- took turns making remarks at microphones located on either side of the auditorium.
Community Building on Campus
There were mixed feelings about the cohesiveness of the internal campus community. One recurring theme was the need for improved internal and external communications.
One audience member lives in the Montlake area and wanted to know what the UW was doing to address the traffic problems there.
External Community Involvement
Safety and Environmental Concerns
When UWTV expands its broadcast area, some communities feel like the big, bad all-powerful UW is coming in to steal away the good students. We need to change this hostility.
Diane Gillespie facilitated. Notes were taken by Natalie Lang. The meeting took place from approximately 12-1pm. Both Classified and Exempt Staff attended the meeting. Desks were arranged in a circle; the conversation format was an open forum with 25 participants.
What people would say to a friend who was thinking of applying to the UW:
People would like to be able to say:
Lifestyle Enhancement: The need for a more liberal family leave policy was expressed.
Job Enhancement: These are management issues affecting the viability of the institution.
This Staff Conversation was held in the Research and Training Building at Harborview Hospital. Dr. Rachel Garshick Kleit from the Evans School of Public Affairs facilitated, with Staff Forum member Deb Simard- Achak assisting. The 65 attendees were from a variety of Harborview departments.
HMC employees overall expressed a feeling of being excluded from the campus community. The needs of a 24 hr/day medical center are not always adequately addressed with regard to university policies, continued education, benefits, access to services and commuting. They would like regular opportunities to be heard on these and other issues, but were first interested in assurance that changes and improvements would result from their input. It was suggested that the Harborview newsletter, STAT, could be a tool for doing this.
Benefits, Insurance, Personnel
In addition to the campus being so far away and difficult to get to, parents with young children have lots of difficulty attending career development classes. One suggestion was that if there were a place that staff could bring their children at night, they would be better able to attend classes.
Campus life vs. Off-site medical center
Strong emotion surrounded this discussion. The hospital operates 24 hours a day, does not get summers off, and thus creates very different challenges for its employees. It is believed that the University does not recognize the need for special consideration for site-specific issues, and is not sensitive to HMC needs.
Commuting & Parking
Help is needed from the University administration to address this issue in a serious way. One idea was for the University to spearhead an effort for Harborview to coordinate with Swedish Hospital and Metro to develop transportation solutions for the entire neighborhood for unusual shift hours worked by both hospitals’ staff. Parking is limited, expensive and often very unsafe. Staff specifically requested that there be a shuttle from Harborview to Northgate. Non-King County residents who work at Harborview should not be forgotten. In addition, the UPASS system needs to be streamlined to reduce ‘hoop jumping’ and other barriers.
This group wants to see improvements University-wide with regard to employee health and job safety. Many felt that it was very ironic to work in a health care setting and have very backwards, sometimes non-existent, employee health and wellness programs.
Ergonomics was a big theme. Laboratory and research technicians, occupational therapists, and RNs deal with repetitive motion injuries as a result of their jobs, an issue that is not given much attention. It should be a matter of course as opposed to each individual staff person having to pursue assistance. One suggestion was to create an ergonomics task force to evaluate and implement changes. Supervisors should participate in any training. Traditionally staff has not felt empowered to bring safety issues forward. Either complaints stop at the supervisory level, or the staff person feels that his/her complaint will affect employment status. Beyond the obvious benefits, there could also be substantial savings for the University with regard to insurance premiums if employees were safer on the job. That is, if the University would proactively put effort and resources towards employee safety and wellness, there would be less need for staff health care or sick time to address injuries.
A nearly unanimous request was that there be some place for Harborview staff to go for exercise. The IMA is not a realistic option. Suggestions were to either provide an exercise room for staff or to make arrangements with a local gym for reduced fees. One alternative is the Connolly Center located at Seattle University, approximately six blocks from the hospital. This would also provide showers for employees who run or walk at lunch.
In general the staff at Harborview are looking for a way to take better care of themselves so that they can do a better job at work. A few benefits with regard to exercise and health will go a long way in terms of staff feeling like the University cares about their well being.
The key problem here was an absence of information. How does the UW's telecommuting policy relate to Harborview staff? Is there any progress in terms of making this available to hospital staff? Can this add to almost unanimous staff requests for more flex-time or half time work?
Computers & Technology
MCIS computer support could use improvements. Perhaps if MCIS had a larger staff it could better meet the needs of the University. An integrated accounting system would reduce labor and increase efficiency.
Improvements in hospital maintenance and janitorial services are much needed. Staff feel both indoors and outdoors that the Harborview facility is not well cared for and is often dirty. Higher standards need to be established, funded and enforced.
Harborview staff need a centralized place where they can take breaks together and be inaccessible to patients. The cafeteria is a busy, noisy, non-private place; this lack of break space makes it difficult to enhance employee relationships and promote a sense of teamwork.
A bulletin board for staff messages would also facilitate better communication. More and better communication is needed between hospital administrators, upper management and staff. Staff have a real interest in hearing about policy issues and a broad range of administrative changes. Staying informed about the future of the hospital would help staff feel invested and appreciated. Currently, staff feel they are the last to know about important changes.
There was some skepticism about how effective a “Conversation” like this would be in communicating staff needs and concerns. What will be the outcome of this, and when can it be expected? Staff want to know that their input makes a difference. Additional Conversation meetings would be helpful.
Several people spoke up at the close of the Conversation to say that they are proud to work at the University of Washington and Harborview, and that in many ways they do feel that the UW cares about them. Nonetheless, they do have many concerns and hope that administrators are listening.
This conversation was a roundtable discussion held from 12-1 PM. The participants included staff representing all academic programs on campus, the library, and student affairs. A small group of employees from the Pack Forest facility in Eatonville attended, as well as others who do not work on the Tacoma campus. All participants wore name tags.
The conversation was facilitated by Dr. Patricia Moy who, after introductions, began the conversation by posing the scenario in which a hypothetical friend wanted to apply for a job at UWT. “What is one thing you would say to encourage them, and what is one thing you would like to be able to say that isn’t true right now?”
General comments about UWT
This Staff Conversation was held in Kane Hall 210 (moved from Walker-Ames Room to accommodate attendance) Dr. Kim Johnson-Bogart, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Education, facilitated with Jessie Garcia on hand as an expert in employee training and development.
Kim Johnson Bogart asked the audience to consider this question:
What could you say about working at the UW now, and what do you wish you could say?
225 staff members from a variety of on and off-campus departments -- new hires, contractors, long-timers, classified, professional, clerical, managerial, technical, and service departments (e.g., trades) -- took turns making remarks at microphones located on either side of the auditorium.
Training infrastructure is lacking. Some departments have a very organized program, and budget for training classes, while others don’t have the resources or inclination to do so. It’s hard for employees to get training that would help them to do their jobs better.
Employees have to go to community colleges and elsewhere for classes they need in order to do their jobs. Employees need greater access to training--especially technology-related classes.
One employee suggested creating “training suites” for various jobs and roles on campus--like the materials and training that are provided to PIs (handbook of protocols, summary of resources available on campus).
More information sharing and informal training opportunities would be appreciated--e.g., employee orientation update for seasoned employees, computer bulletin boards or chat rooms for common questions.
The UW needs to implement a university-wide career development planning and counseling program. The current system is too stratified, and employees need the support of their supervisors to change this. There is a rigid line between classified and professional staff. This creates a lot of barriers to promotion. The UW needs resources on campus to help people seeking promotions, so that employees trying to advance their careers don’t feel so alone in their endeavors. The UW also needs to explore ways for people to shape their jobs to job share or prepare for retirement and succession. One employee suggested that skills assessments be available to employees seeking promotions or career changes. Another suggestion was to allow Personnel to actively seek out current UW employees interested in promotions and lateral moves – e.g., match current employees’ skills and interests with jobs that are open.
The UW has made some progress in this area. However, information only goes out to department heads, not all staff members. Strengthening the telecommuting program would help with space shortages and commuting issues. Why can’t we have more flexibility in shaping our work time?
Several employees commented on how slow the campus modems were. A Computing and Communications employee said that upgrades and expansions were tentatively planned.
The first European Universities, arising in medieval times, essentially were trade schools of law and theology, which emphasized rote learning of the traditional canon. The first modern universities, arising in Germany at the beginning of the 18th century, renounced orthodoxy and took on a new role of training scholars in intellectual inquiry. The concept, as it arose in Germany and migrated to America, was that the best research and teaching were inseparable, each nourishing the other.
As the first President of Johns Hopkins University stated at the inauguration of that institution, “What are we aiming at? – The encouragement of research… and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.” The concept that research universities would be engines to drive the advancement of science and society was formalized by Vannevar Bush who, in his report “Science – The Endless Frontier” prepared for Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1945, first clearly enunciated the role of academic technology transfer as a vehicle for enhancing the economy, and ushered in the era of extensive federal funding of university research. Although Bush’s thinking centered on scientific research, research in the humanities and in the creative arts has been no less important for the development of our society. In all fields, one of the most important goals of institutions of higher learning is the pursuit of human knowledge beyond its present limits through the process commonly known as “Research.” In this endeavor, the society in which we live is regenerated in a twofold manner: through newly acquired specific knowledge, and through individuals trained by this process to be at once creative, independent and disciplined. In addition to its immediate benefits, the exploration of the current frontiers of human knowledge is a major long-term investment of our society in its future.
The above history of the university clearly presents the importance of the university and its research role to the social and technological development of the society. The essentially intertwined nature of the educational and research roles is often less clear despite the intentions expressed at the founding of the Johns Hopkins University.
One of the primary missions of the University of Washington as a comprehensive university is the education of graduate students – prospective members of the research community which includes government, academia, and private enterprise. In order to fulfill this mission the university maintains a research enterprise which requires many resources – space, equipment, supplies, time and staff – beyond those needed for a narrowly construed undergraduate instructional program.
These resources enrich all of the missions of the University. The faculty of the University are leaders in the discovery of new knowledge and understanding which they share with graduate students, the community at large, their colleagues, and the undergraduate students. Their presence is essential for the graduate program, and the knowledge, skills, and discoveries of the faculty enrich the society culturally, technologically and economically. In addition the undergraduate programs are enriched through the currency of material presented in the classroom and through the opportunities for student involvement in the research activities of the faculty. This involvement, essentially unique to the research university, not only provides insight into how new knowledge and understanding are developed and applied, but also provides skills and experience which the students carry forward into their careers. In a research university like ours, education and research are inextricably linked, and cannot be separated without harm to both enterprises.
The excellence of this country’s research universities has played a major role in our ascendancy to a role of world cultural and technological leadership. As this University evaluates its future, two questions should be at the fore: first, how can we maintain the strength of our research enterprise? Second, how can we ensure that our teaching enterprise is optimally nourished by that research? We cannot afford to be complacent about this university’s success in both teaching and research endeavors. The current unprecedented pace of change presents great opportunities, but also threats. Pressure to focus exclusively on teaching or research, can compromise the entire enterprise which depends upon balanced effort in all areas.
For example, the advent of managed health care has sharply reduced revenues in Health Sciences. As a result, the faculty are being exhorted to care for more patients and staff more clinics. These new orders help to ensure funding for their salaries. However, teaching and research are necessarily de-emphasized as activities that not only fail to generate patient revenue but also divert faculty from seeing more patients. If the faculty are thus discouraged from academic pursuits, even temporarily, it can lead to lowered teaching quality, reduced volume and quality of research, lower morale, discouragement of trainees who are thinking of pursuing academic careers, or the departure of faculty for private practice. This threatens the education of the next generation of teachers and researchers, and thus this country’s future position as a world leader in innovation.
For the general University there has been an increasing tendency in recent years to bypass and ignore, or even worse, to denigrate the contribution of research to the present and future. The research role of the university has been perceived as standing in opposition to its role as a teaching institution, and research is frequently regarded as a waste of the time and money of its “clients” – i.e., its students. The University is thus implicitly viewed as a service institution, and this is in part reflected in the under-funding of research in all areas, especially the humanities and the arts.
It is important that the University recognizes, supports materially, and honors publicly and without apology its role in extending the boundaries of human knowledge. Moreover, it is important that it emphasizes its teaching mission in this state, in this country, on this earth in the new millennium.
A brief history of art at the University was provided as background to the ensuing discussion. It was noted that the arts as a field of study was not taken seriously until quite recently. The University of Washington was for many years at the hub of the organized arts activity which did exist until Seattle hosted the World’s Fair. Subsequent development of arts organizations were seeded by the Fair, beginning with the Seattle Repertory Theater in 1963.
East coast theater migrated west as the community developed support for productions, with comparable development mirrored in other mediums. The University became a lesser player in the arts community. It was noted that the University’s emphasis on sports may have begun to grow at about the same time, drawing on resources and donations that might otherwise have continued to support arts activities.
In reaction to the comment that sports in the Seattle community may still be a drain on resources that might otherwise be committed to the arts, it was noted that the opposite may be true. Excess revenues generated by a hotel/motel tax levied to support the building of the Kingdome are contributed to funds that support cultural education programs and various special artistic projects in the area. Today, over 50 professional arts organizations with huge amounts of donations, make Seattle one of the artistic leaders in the country. This is a huge draw for arts students to the University of Washington, as the connection between campus and community can benefit both with facilities, study and performance. Both community and campus face funding challenges, while it was agreed that the problem may be more one of distribution than allocation.
Panel members agreed that exposure to the arts is a main factor in creating lifelong arts appreciation. The University, along with the K-12 schools, can contribute greatly in this arena, with the University developing a mature audience. The future should encourage continued cooperation between campus and community, and participation by students. Interdisciplinary options on campus, taking away the separation between arts and sciences, would be beneficial to all concerned. This would require external support through donation allocation as well as internal commitment by the administration. This includes cooperation between the arts departments, such as dance, music and theater; lines of separation need to fade or disappear.
A further element of this interdisciplinary need, the greater arts community has a growing need for computer scientists, business managers, lawyers – students from many other disciplines. A business school track in non-profit administration, for instance, would be an invaluable contribution.
The suggestion was made that money follows value. More clarity is needed about the value that art study provides, adding to the ‘training vs. education’ debate. Arts are a repository and a reflection of who we are. They are a lasting, consistent value, while current technological and vocational skills may be outmoded almost as quickly as they are acquired. The University can contribute to helping create a society which sees the value and beauty in human creativity. Arts will also, it was suggested, play an increasing role as ethical dilemmas result from scientific accomplishments. Art is the place where we talk about our humanity. Important skills for the future are creativity, ethical questioning and flexibility.
The University also has a role in serving as an “R&D” arm of the arts. It can be a place for students to experiment and fail, creating and supporting diversity in who creates and what gets created. The University can formalize the opportunity for greater exposure for a more diverse population and be reflective of the diversity in the greater community.
This Staff Conversation was held in Kane Hall 210 (moved from Walker-Ames Room to accommodate attendance) Ms. Randy Shapiro facilitated, with Dr. Tom Lee on hand as an expert in employee retention and loyalty. Dr. Tom Lee gave a brief introduction outlining the problems that employers have with employee retention, and described the reasons why money isn’t the only reason someone stays with an employer. Randy Shapiro then asked the audience to consider these questions:
Employees then took turns making remarks at microphones located on either side of the auditorium. Ms. Shapiro facilitated to keep the dialog focused on topics related to workstyle enrichment, family and workplace. Various themes discussed are listed below.
Many employees have, or will soon have eldercare responsibilities. They would like more publicity about the eldercare resources available on campus for employees taking care of seniors in and beyond Washington.
The UW needs to think more creatively about how to provide more childcare for employees. Campus childcare and summer activity programs are limited and too expensive for many employees -- they are seen as being for the "elite" faculty and administrators on campus who know the right people to get their kids in.
Suggestions for improving childcare included:
I like working here because my kids can see a higher education environment, but I want for my kids to be able to be more involved in it.
McCormick should be lobbying hard for the state surplus to subsidize childcare. What an investment in the future for the University.
Staff members raved about benefits of teleworking, especially as a solution for traffic, childcare, maternity leave and scarce office space. However, several staff members see a dire need to educate administrators, managers and deans about the advantages of teleworking and ways to implement this for their departments. Teleworkers also need equipment to be able to telework most productively.
President McCormick needs to encourage deans and managers to embrace telecommuting – especially for childcare solutions. They have to get over this idea that they need somebody physically present at a desk from 8:00-5:00 to get work done. Most people don’t really need to work that way.
Telecommuters need modems that don’t log them off in the middle of something important. This technology upgrade needs to be a priority, or it seems like the administration is giving support to a telecommuting program knowing in advance it will be frustrated.
Being "stuck" at UW
Many people expressed a feeling of being "stuck" at the UW for reasons including:
I feel stuck because I’ve been here a long time and I’m not really able to go anywhere else. I didn’t need to know the computer when I started my job, and everyone uses computers now.
There is no room for promotion in certain areas, and no effort to address that. We keep cutting back on real workers and creating more ‘chiefs.’ These things need to be resolved with one another.
Just because I’m part time doesn’t mean I don’t want to advance. Part timers need more opportunities; and not be punished because they choose or need to work less than full time.
The shared leave program is good, but it could be a lot better. Suggestions included:
There is frustration over salary inequities for experienced and new workers. Some seasoned employees felt that it was unfair that new hires were earning the same salary they were. Frustration was also expressed over the difficulty of rewarding employees who have been at the UW for a long time.
There’s no place for skilled technicians and mechanics to go if they want a promotion. They usually leave, and places outside the UW pay $20,000 a year more.
Wages are way below market.
I would tell someone considering a classified staff job to take the job if you’re desperate, but it won’t keep up with inflation.
The UW is never going to have salary parity, but it needs to offer more creative solutions, like flex schedules, and shared jobs, and more creative ideas about retention.
The UW needs to show it appreciates employees with more than a half a percent raise.
I would like more career advancement opportunities for part-timers.
Give staff the classes and training they need to do their jobs. There’s too much power at the department level to turn employees down.
Working at UW – Pros
The UW is intellectually stimulating, most offices have casual dress, and the work is worthwhile.
The UW is a noble institution, and I like working 50% time and getting benefits.
One good thing about the UW is the job security.
Working at UW – Cons
Some staff members see a class structure or separateness between faculty, managers and line staff seen here that isn’t present at other universities. This keeps a lot of doors closed and prevents people from getting necessary things done in a timely manner.
Professors are the big show, nobody looks at the staff.
Treat staff like you treat the faculty – like for snow days, faculty just get the time off and they don’t have to make it up.
There is concern about the dependency on the whims of Olympia for funding.
I really want McCormick to walk the budget committees around campus so they can see what’s really, really needed and how budget changes impact things.
Many universities have policies that give the children of employees discounted or free tuition. Staff members would really like to have such a program at the UW. One person suggested that employees be able to donate their tuition exemption to their children.
Informative presentations by central offices need to be publicized extensively and held at as many on-campus and off-site locations as possible.
It’s difficult to make the trek up here, and I usually miss half the presentation.
It would be nice to have a "global broadcast" on the web or on e-mail when important events are happening on campus – e.g., bus delays, crises (like last week’s shooting), threatening weather.
I only found out about the shooting at the hospital last week when my mother called me at my office.
Employees understand the need to comply with laws, but they would like the trust and discretion to be able to do whatever it takes to do their jobs well – e.g., Nordstrom.
Policies built on trust allow choice, discretion and freedom and would help the University while helping staff.
Employees would find it helpful to be able to use their computers during lunch or breaks for things like grocery shopping.
Don Carlson (State Representative), Joseph Palena (owner of insurance, pension- planning and employee benefits agency); Dr. Karen Stengart (Southwest Washington Health District); Bruce Hagensen (former mayor and owner of Vancouver Sign ); Paul Christenson (Realvest Corp.); Mr. and Mrs. Winford Fletcher (active alumni and owners of a furniture store); Dick Hannah (president of a chain of car dealerships).
Notes: Steven Goldsmith, UW Office of News & Information
Place: Heathman Lodge, Vancouver (breakfast)
Date: June 16, 2000
(NOTE: In fall quarter 1999, 672 UW students hailed from Clark County)
Creating and keeping jobs in the community
Clark County's proportion of college graduates is below the state average. Local businesses -- the small business sector and tech firms alike -- have a tough time retaining talent. A labor shortage could threaten the $2.5 billion Asian investment in local tech companies. Clark County is planning an $80 million educational center at a former Army reserve site, and the UW could have "an opportunity to do something special there." But because of WSU's Vancouver campus and growing presence, WSU officials would be concerned if the UW made a big move in the area. Still, modest initiatives by the UW could begin with sponsoring more business internships, service learning projects, etc. "We send the students up there to Seattle to study, but we also want 'em to come back."
Getting involved in children's lives sooner
Many children fall off the achievement ladder long before college age. Is the UW reaching out to them? Is the educational system providing as many incentives to become a good scholar as to be a good athlete? The UW could supply more tutors, interns, teacher trainees, etc. A special challenge might to find incentives for UW students to venture beyond Puget Sound. It might also be time to try again to ask the Legislature to approve extending Running Start (now limited to high school seniors taking courses at community colleges). The last time UW proposed that, lawmakers "went ballistic."
Barriers (such as out-of-state tuition) are gradually dropping between Clark County and universities in the Portland area. "We need to regionalize opportunity." Enlivening the mix is growing competition from private educational providers. Distance learning seems to be a permanent part of the educational equation, expanding the reach of good professors and efficiently meeting the needs of mid-career professionals and anyone needing to learn new skills. The use of the Internet and UWTV should be expanded (WSU's distance learning relies on interactive video, while UW distance learning is based on the Internet).
Getting involved with communities
There's a local crisis in health care, with a shortage of specialists and other providers. UW offers excellent programs in children's health, family medicine and environmental health -- the UW's leadership and advocacy are appreciated statewide -- but many of the projects are anchored to the Seattle area. "We've not felt the benefit of a UW connection."
Becoming more visible in the life of the state
"It feels to me like you guys have kind of forgotten about Clark County a little bit." UW faces a Catch-22: a big push in Clark County might be perceived as threatening to WSU. But "you have to have a presence or you're perceived as not interested." Some remedies could begin with sending more and better guest speakers. Even when UW researchers venture beyond Seattle, there's a perception that they study the problem and then leave rather than help communities and individuals find solutions. There's also a need to expand service learning projects, which some on the UW campus believe should be a requirement for graduation.
Program Funding Deficits
Fisheries, by definition, is an outdoor major with ongoing community interaction. Funding issues, however, threaten long-established programs that are part of that interaction, like “Salmon in the Classroom.” Administrators on tight budgets indicate that it is getting harder to find the money because it does not have direct benefit. Graduate students say they benefit from the interaction, but it seems it is not enough. They are looking for assistance and general relief from funding crunches.
The structure of the School separates the College community into unnatural, departmental pods. Not enough information crosses departments to let students know what opportunities there are for them at the College, much less across the campus. A system needs to be established to help any student from any School, College or Department be acquainted with their full breadth of opportunities for learning. Faculty is trying to revise the curriculum to incorporate interdisciplinary expansion, but limited resources prevent moving beyond the discussion stage. UW should put the resources behind these efforts. It takes much more work for Faculty to set this up than for a regular course, and they should be compensated. The nature of science as a whole is moving in this direction.
Graduate students need training to teach. Not all TAs should be teaching. Faculty need to be evaluated differently, too, to reward good teaching and give as much support as they would get for doing research. Oceanography faculty is very dedicated to having students succeed, but they cannot keep it up as their teaching and research load increases and resources dwindle.
The recent article in "The Mutt" (an ill-designed attempt at sarcasm about racial bias that inflamed the campus community) fed off of minority stereotypes that still exist.
Campus police recently stopped students from Rainier Beach during the Diversity Fair. The University of Washington, as a public campus, should be for everyone. It is not clear that the campus police (although they were looking for 2 suspects) had any reason to suspect this group of 5 students. UW campus should be expected to be better than the outside community and people should be treated with more respect.
Pre I-200 data
Minority students perceive more of a negative racial climate than do white students. Of these minority students, African-American students had more of a negative perception of the University of Washington campus than the other minorities who participated in the study. This data demonstrates that African-American students are treated worse than other minorities.
The climate at the University of Washington affects achievement. For example, if an African-American male student read the article in The Mutt, wouldn't this have a negative affect on their attitude? What can we do to increase diversity and decrease racism on the UW campus?
Evaluation of Admissions
Certain students know that they will be accepted into the University of Washington, but what about those students who have the possibility of succeeding at the University but cannot get in? Since WSU accepts all undergraduates who apply, they have a higher minority population.
What constitutes merit? For example, the medical school admissions process gives applicants points if they want to practice in rural areas. Leadership skills? Should we develop a course so students can prove that they can succeed at the UW, with counselors nominating students for the class who would not necessarily be admitted?
What about minority students whom we admit but choose to go elsewhere? What are some ways we might stop this?
These solutions are proposed in order to not only increase the diversity on campus but address the issues affecting minority students already on campus. By increasing the diversity on campus we will not only enrich the education of all students but also improve the racial climate. The fact that minority students feel some dissatisfaction with the racial climate on campus needs to be addressed. By working hard to increase the future enrollment of minority students, the University of Washington will be a better place. People are ready to make a difference.
Themes from the Conversation
Teaching and the Curriculum
Interdisciplinary and Interdepartmental Collaboration
Need for College/Departmental Community
College Leadership in Sustainability
Moderator: John Junker
Presenters: Gerry Philipsen, Duane Storti, James West
Respondents: Richard McCormick, Lea Vaughn, Cindy Zehnder
The question is, “Is our system of faculty governance the optimal form for faculty participation in key academic and budgetary matters?”
In the last year there have been several areas in which there have been significant achievements:
How well the faculty can work with the administration is often dependent on the resources or lack of resources available to the faculty. Some of the areas of influence available to faculty are:
There are structural limitations on the effectiveness of faculty participation in governance:
Faculty have a relatively small share of power. They must persuade others to allow them to participate. They must hope that the administration is cooperative and competent at cooperation. Competency in cooperation is not just having good ideas, but it requires working with the ideas of others and to find a place to compromise.
Does the system need changing? If there were not a cooperative President, then there might be a need for change. There are two ways to change the system:
There are several things to think about in terms of faculty governance and unionization. Without some sense of consensus, the faculty will fall farther behind. There are two issues:
When unionization is discussed there are various arguments made:
He began by referencing several sections of the University Handbook that deal with the role of faculty in governance of the University and asked the question "Is shared governance dead?" He indicated that it was not yet dead; that the often presumed causes of death are not true:
Apathy: Faculty are not apathetic. They do care about governance--it affects them every day.
Non-responsiveness: Faculty are experts at change (courses, research, etc.), but it is necessary to consult with them often and to build their trust.
Paternalism: The idea that the administration knows best. "Professional" administrators do not benefit the faculty or university.
Governance does need a boost, and Storti suggested several ways to provide it:
He had these suggestions for the administration:
Asking whether to have a union or a Faculty Senate is an irrelevant question. The real question is: How are we going to share power? What are the conditions under which we will share power?
Shared governance is like marriage in that in any long term relationship there are thorny points, disagreements, and issues to be resolved. But it is important to share meaningful information in a timely fashion. Conflict isn't necessarily bad--from conflict we grow and change.
There are 4-5 areas where the faculty role is predominant and almost exclusive:
There are other areas where consultation is expected:
The UW is pretty successful:
The Board of Regents doesn't involve itself in specific faculty issues; her assumption is that she was invited because of her broad view (as a member of the Board, a former member of the Responsibilities and Rewards Committee, as well as her experience with labor unions.)
She believes that all employees need some organization to speak for and represent them. But it is important to determine what is the best format for the particular group and culture.
There are three factors that determine if the chosen form will be successful:
Commonality of purpose. Is there enough cohesiveness around issues and concerns to bring the group together through difficult times?
Commitment on the part of workers and leaders to sustain the organization over time (whether it is the Faculty Senate or a union).
Is there something of value to be gain by organizing?
Serious financial challenges for the University (two possible initiatives). Faculty should be involved in political activity. Whatever form of organization is chosen by faculty, don't ignore the other partners: the legislature and the public. The largest challenge is to change the opinion of the citizens so that they believe that adequate funding is essential.
Some of the ideas mentioned included:
We don't necessarily need a union; the Faculty Senate could be more effective. But there are two areas in which collective bargaining would be useful:
There was discussion about how much input the faculty should have and in what areas. We have to have a unified front as to how to govern. Faculty can accept the division of power if they understand why there is such a division.
There were several suggestions made:
No matter what happens with enabling legislation or collective bargaining, it will be necessary to rethink faculty governance in the next few years.
James A. Banks, Director, Center for Multicultural Education
Charles R. Johnson, Department of English
Andrea Simpson, Department of Political Science
Angela Ginorio, Director, NW Center for Research on Women
Maria P. P. Root, Independent Consultant
Michael Honey, Liberal Studies, UW Tacoma
Diane Gillespie, Liberal Studies, UW Bothell
To what extent and in what ways will race continue to define social life in American society, the State of Washington and on the UW campus in the 21st century?
Panelists referred to society's past mistakes and misconceptions and the continuing impact. Economic impacts of slavery and white supremacy impoverished African Americans over generations while helping whites accumulate capital and power. Beginning with Nixon's presidential campaign, a strategy was developed to earn votes for Republican candidates by making white workers think they would benefit over blacks via Republican representation. Results have been funding cuts to public schools and further polarization along racial and class lines.
The danger in a state like Washington, with a relatively small minority population, is that whites think of racial disadvantage as having been overcome.
Current unemployment rates are impressively low at this time in history. Overall unemployment is less than 4%. For blacks it is more than 8%. More than 8% of black men are unemployed during this time of general economic prosperity, while only about 2% of white men remain unemployed.
Some of the problem, it was stated, comes from within the African American community. Institutions that have traditionally advocated for blacks have not been as effective as they might have been. The NAACP, for instance, has focused more energy on the images of blacks on television than on the AIDS epidemic, one of the leading killers in the African American community.
There is, at the same time, a growing acceptance of marriages that cross racial lines. Especially encouraging is the increase in the number of black women marrying white men. Those numbers had remained static for many years, but doubled in the last decade. Neighborhoods, however, continue to be highly segregated.
In Washington state, racism appears to revolve around perceived competition for resources. Minorities in rural Washington face obstacles in attempts to obtain higher education. Statistics show that virtually all families want their children to go to college, but minority children rarely see examples of college-educated people within their community. Often the only college-educated person these children come in contact with is their school teacher, and without a family member to model, students are more likely to perceive college as inaccessible.
When minorities do come into an academic setting, they face challenges that whites do not. Whites remain largely unconscious of their inherent privilege and tend to downplay or remain unaware of the added pressures on minority students. Strong motivators to maintain their privilege exist. Becoming aware of white privilege leads to questions that have no easy answers, perpetuating the problem.
Notes: Veta Schlimgen
Moderator: Jamie Clausen, GPSS Secretary
On May 10th, 2000, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) hosted the fifth and final discussion in conjunction with President McCormick’s “Conversation About the Future.” GPSS Secretary Jamie Clausen led this hour-long discussion on “Diversity in Graduate Education.” Nineteen graduate and professional students attended the meeting; they represented a diverse campus population, coming from the School of Education, School of Law, Departments of Botany, Atmospheric Sciences, Sociology, Epidemology and Geography among others. Some attendees also represented minority groups. The impressions and concerns of all attendees over diversity in education extended beyond graduate school; the issues they discussed are outlined below.
The graduate and professional students who attended this meeting all recognized the many benefits of a diverse student population. They proposed that the University revisit its own reasons for maintaining and increasing diversity. Diversity should be important as an issue of access and associated social enfranchisement rather than simply as a quality that enhances education for everyone.
The University does not provide adequate funding for students of diverse backgrounds, and should allocate or seek funds to enhance efforts supporting diversity in higher education.
Funding also addresses an aspect of diversity that can frequently be neglected. One student asked when financial background will become a criteria for admission. Admission of students from underprivileged backgrounds will impact this type of student’s “social enfranchisement” and impact the quality/diversity of education on campus.
The GPSS’ effort to encourage students of diverse backgrounds to remain committed to education is a process that needs to take place at all levels of education – from elementary to high school, then to college and graduate school. College-level participants in these programs should attempt to find a level of participation outside of the overly-used “high school talk.”
Student attendees questioned how graduate participation can be increased and how extant efforts can be made more meaningful. Attendants suggested that graduate students further involve themselves in current programs including GEAR UP and MOSAIC.
GPSS is currently invested in efforts to increase diversity in graduate education. Aside from participating in the MOSAIC diversity summit and cooperating with ASUW, GPSS has begun a graduate mentoring program and it facilitates graduate student participation in orientation programs.
Students drew attention to the poor reputation the University has for minority recruitment in the state. For this reason, the joint recruitment initiative between the UW and WSU is probably more effective in WSU attracting minority students from Eastern Washington.
Yet, the difficulty of recruiting a diverse student body cannot be cast aside as a matter of reputation. The University is responsible for understanding the tactics needed to recruit and retain underrepresented students. The University should pay attention to the recruitment and admission of students from underrepresented groups, including, for example, disabled students and students from lower-income families.
The University needs to identify and develop ways to encourage departments and faculty to work to increase and maintain diversity within their fields – this is particularly the case with graduate student admissions which is performed by the individual departments. Students questioned if there is a way the University can prod or encourage departments to commit to increasing diversity in graduate education. One means they identified was through the ten-year academic reviews mandated by the Graduate School. Repercussions administered through this channel, they surmised, would certainly promote an increase in diversity.
The University can also focus energy on increasing diversity in the recruitment of students not traditionally recruited – like students with disabilities or students of varying sexual orientations. The University and individual departments must begin with gains already made by creating an atmosphere of acceptance for underrepresented students in the various fields (refer to section below entitled “retention”).
Finally, one student brought up the question of ensuring the representation of international students. Currently, these students pay tuition at a significantly higher rate; thus, departments that consider admitting international students – and offering them TA or RA appointments – face paying a higher tuition for them. Consequently, departments may unintentionally discriminate against non-citizens when looking at costs.
The University of Washington needs to direct some of its diversity recruitment at Washington’s community colleges. A significant number of students transfer to UW from these institutions; yet, most of this institution’s initiatives are aimed at high school students.
The University’s campaign must also address the issue of access. The University’s publicity must emphasize to Washington residents that increasing the number of underrepresented students will not correlate to a decrease in the admission of non-minority students. They need to be aware that there is room for everyone and everyone should have the opportunity to pursue a higher education.
Focusing on diversity among the in-coming population (especially during these post-I-200 years) neglects student experiences once they are on campus. Students of underrepresented backgrounds face a relatively homogenous group of graduate teachers, colleagues, and regular faculty.
Attendees believe that the University is unaware of the experiences of students of diversity, including their retention rates, how long and if they stay here at the UW, and what these students do once they graduate. Examining the rate of retention and graduation will indicate to the University where it needs to invest greater efforts to enhance the education of underrepresented students. One substantial effort in this direction is GPSS’s mentoring program (For more information, see http://depts.washington.edu/gpss/mentor.shtml). Nevertheless, this effort should be the beginning rather than the entirety of the University’s support for students of diversity. Also, this program - aimed at undergraduate students - does not address the experiences of graduate students of diverse backgrounds, who deserve more of the University’s attention.
Students pointed out the importance of the Graduate Student Employee Action Coalition (GSEAC) in supporting diversity in graduate education. For example, as a first-generation college student moves into graduate education he/she may not have the desired familial support due to lack of understanding in a family that did not attend college - especially when the student will not be making a livable wage. The basic standards for all graduate students that GSEAC supports will ensure this type of student (and all graduate students employed by the University) will have steady financial support as they pursue graduate-level education.
Attendees suggested that the University support a paid graduate student mentor position. This person could be consulted by minority undergraduates as to the benefits and drawbacks of graduate studies and the ins and outs of applying to and entering graduate school. Student attendees drew attention to institutions already in place, like the undergraduate advising office and transfer student advisors. Both should be used to advise students about graduate education.
Students continually returned to the subject of faculty when discussing the retention of graduate students of diverse backgrounds. They emphasized how important faculty interaction, encouragement, and understanding were for creating and retaining a diverse graduate student population. One attendee noted that the interaction and support she received from one faculty member as an undergraduate encouraged her to continue on to graduate studies regardless of her disabilities. This example illustrates how influential these individuals can be for individual students and, consequently, in shaping student populations.
Not all faculty members are as sensitive as the one aforementioned. Due to the low level of diversity in higher education, not all faculty, nor administrators and students, have had experience interacting with students of diversity. Students attending this discussion emphasized that all faculty need sensitivity training – they should not be expected to have a natural knowledge of how best to interact with students of underrepresented groups. They need to know what diversity is, in addition to enhancing their awareness of how to interact with students of diverse backgrounds. This is also the case for Teaching Assistants who are part of the relatively homogenous student body and also will not have a priori sensitivity to diversity. (One additional benefit to TA training is that TAs with a heightened awareness will become professors with increased sensitivity.)
Sensitivity training is only one essential aspect of increasing the quality of education students of diverse backgrounds receive once they enter graduate school (or university). The University needs to be much more public about its interest in increasing diversity which may, in turn, decrease faculty hesitancy to encourage diversity in the student populations with which they work.
Because faculty support and encouragement is so crucial, students suggested that efforts by the administration, graduate students, or anyone interested in improving the ratio of underrepresented students on campus focus on enclaves of faculty who work to increase diversity. Attendees suggested some sort of remuneration for these individuals – anything from a financial award to campus-wide recognition – which would also indicate the University’s support for making higher education an option for all individuals. These initiatives can be started by campus organizations (like GPSS, or individual departments) but must be reinforced through institutional means, such as by compensating faculty who perform extra work (like mentoring).
Some preliminary tools are in place to enhance diversity in graduate education (and in the University’s student population overall). For example, GPSS has instituted a graduate mentoring program. Yet, these efforts should not stand alone. The University needs to make its stand on increasing diversity known and do so in a way that educates state residents so that they too support augmenting the number of students from underrepresented groups. Not simply the University as an institution, but the individuals within it must also take part in this initiative. The most important group within the University identified by attendees is faculty and instructors (TAs and lecturers). Not only do these individuals have the most frequent contact with students but they also act as role models and as mentors to both undergraduate and graduate students. Their level of interaction and their part in shaping graduate student bodies makes them a key participants in increasing and maintaining levels of diversity in the University of Washington’s student population. Diversity is not simply about enhancing the learning environment but about opening up the option of higher education and advanced studies to all.
Themes from the Conversation
Issues in Teaching
Preparation for the Field
Themes from the Conversation:
Preparation for Service in Field
Collaboration and Interdisciplinarity
Curriculum Review Process
Preparation for Medical School
UW pre-medical does not adequately prepare students. Could involve medical students in advising, mentoring and teaching opportunities. Students are willing to do this work, but need the institutional support to have the time, money, and resources to do it.
Quote from student: "We've chosen to become healers, but the process is not conducive to healing."
Notes: Veta Schlimgen
Presenter: Dr. Henry Giroux
|Individuals interested in viewing Giroux’s talk can check out a video of this presentation entitled “Conversation About the Future” from the University of Washington Libraries.|
On May 4, 2000, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) in conjunction with President McCormick's "Conversation About the Future" presented a lecture and discussion with Henry Giroux, Waterbury Chair and Professor of Education at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Giroux offered a lecture entitled, "Public Intellectuals and the Crisis of Higher Education: Rethinking the Role of Critical Pedagogy and Cultural Studies in the Age of Corporate Culture." The lecture was well attended, drawing more than 120 individuals from the University of Washington community as well as the greater Seattle-metropolitan educational community. Giroux argued that today’s universities pay far too much attention to commercial attachments versus creating educated citizens. He argued that university educators, as well as educators at all levels, must use various forms of pedagogy. They must be able to recognize existing power structures, social issues, and how their students fit into these socio-cultural understandings in order to shape education so that that will create thinkers out of these individuals. The following is a summary of some of the problems and solutions Giroux identified in this context of culture, education, and pedagogy.
Giroux began by emphasizing that the future of education and democracy in America does not have to repeat the present. This can be done by "the public intellectual" who is engaged in "critical pedagogy," terms that Giroux expanded upon during the course of his lecture.
Giroux explained that the role of university educators must expand beyond traditional pedagogical approaches. Currently, universities are not dedicated to higher learning but to professional development. In this context, higher education is a commercial venture rather than an intellectual one. Consequently, there remains little room for social criticism. University intellectuals who have traditionally been cultural critics are then forced to define themselves by the vagaries of the market. They become servants of corporate power who refuse to analyze the university (and all public schools). In short, today's intellectuals do not use this institution as a tool of cultural criticism.
Giroux believes that the university as an institution should be used to educate rather than train individuals; it should be a place where pedagogy is a moral and political process of enlightenment. Pedagogy is not simply a set of tools or techniques that educators - of all varieties - can apply uniformly to each, individual situation. Furthermore, politics are effaced from this type of standardized pedagogy - one emphasizes teaching tips or a standard set of educational skills. Teachers must make the pedagogy more political and they must comprehend larger social issues and learn how to shape their instructional environments. Educators who talk about political pedagogy, Giroux said, become "public intellectuals."
Public education is a place where democracy is renewed; it is a place where students locate themselves in society and realize how to engage in social activities and social issues. Traditionally, universities have been one of the few venues where dissent from the established cultural norms can be expressed. Truly engaged public intellectuals at these institutions and elsewhere will be moral and political leaders rather than rehearsers of an apolitical pedagogy.
Learning is intimately related to cultural change. Culture, power, and politics compose a "public pedagogy" or the body of social norms that individuals recognize and adopt. These are the norms that are imbued in the youth of today. This is their public pedagogy. Culture is a site of struggle over power. It influences how people think of themselves and others. The public intellectual is aware of how the political, powerful, and cultural becomes pedagogical, i.e., how individuals are shaped by culture. In this context, Giroux argues, pedagogy is not restricted to schools. Education is life-long.
Elements of cultural studies are intimately linked to the public intellectual's critical pedagogy, and, in turn, illustrate how teachers, or educators, can become public intellectuals:
Cultural criticism does have weaknesses. Cultural studies can, at times, be deconstructive and offer no hypothesis for building a better society. Also, cultural studies are frequently too removed from public pedagogy. For example, issues of public significance are not engaged. The public intellectual who is an institutional educator must examine his or her own relationship to structures of power and how these relationships impact his or her pedagogy.
Teachers, as public intellectuals, should act in opposition to the corporatization of everything related to their work as educators. They can build a community of support to work against this trend by drawing on students, parents, union organizations, laborers, etc.
By defending education as a vital sphere, it can be used to balance a democratic life against corporatism. If the university is to remain a site of critical thinking, it must be expanded to working-class people and communities. In this way, higher education will be applicable to everyday people and can, in turn, subvert the status quo that is founded on politics and power. The University’s place is to publicly raise embarrassing social issues that society must face.
Public intellectuals must be “border intellectuals.” They must be able to cross the boundaries of a discipline or a context or a pedagogical approach in order to create critical pedagogists rather than technicians out of students. University teachers must enrich through education the language and ideas that young people use to define their lives and their place in society. In this sense, educators must be provocateurs, engaged in criticism and breaking down the dominant forms and channels of power. Educators must define themselves less as specialists and more as critical pedagogists.
In sum, Giroux said, learning should be used to expand the public good not to make a profit. Towards this goal, it is essential to create a new future that does not repeat the present, one that is hopeful and practical for all members of society.
Themes from the Conversation
Make Campus more Student Friendly
UW as a Factory
Clyde Ballard (State Senator); Bart Clennon (CPA); Steve Conley (Bank of America); Brian Dorsey (Davis, Arneil Law Firm); Jon Eberle (Development Partners); Brian Flones (Wenatchee School District); Larry Focht (CPA); Dale Foreman (Foreman, Arch, Dodge, Volyn & Zimmerman, P.S.); John Gordon (Wenatchee School District); Steven Harvey, DDS; Marc Heminger (Gellatly Agency, Inc.); Garfield Jeffers (Jeffers, Danielson, Sonn & Aylward, P.S.); Cindy Jeffers; Aaron Kelly, M.D.; Frank Kuntz, CPA; Linda Parlette (State House of Representatives); Robert Parlette (Davis, Arneil Law Firm); Barbara Tilly
Notes: Harry Hayward, University Relations
Place: West Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel
Date: May 5, 2000
Conversational Theme: What do our students need to know in the future, and where should the University invest for the future?
Partnering with K-12
It is difficult, especially in rural districts, to attract and retain good teachers. Teachers should practice teach where they will eventually stay. Practice is the secret to training good teachers who can really excel in the classroom. Some districts are using a "guide on the side" to mentor new teachers. Student input dictates who is a good teacher - add some form of student evaluation to the retention plan.
Could UW partner with K-12 in developing curriculum? "Running Start" is a beginning. Some districts are working on programs where teachers can offer middle school classes over the internet to the whole district. There has also been collaboration across district lines. An example is Advance placement courses offered by Burlington School District to Federal Way students.
Partnering with Community Colleges
Transfer credits from community colleges to Universities should be smoother. Outreach efforts to rural community colleges are beginning to work, but long term; there should be a seamless connection. Is there a way to collaborate and/or share final exams between community colleges and University admissions to show the true competencies of transfer students? Is there collaboration among four-year universities regarding who owns certain specialties like medicine and agriculture, and how can we be most efficient in using state resources in planning for future curriculum needs?
Rural communities are on the other side of the technology divide. There is a disparity due to infrastructure. Port Districts now have the power to offer wholesale telecommunications services, they need a catalyst. Can the University assist with economic development through the Business School?
Distance Learning can expand the reach of really good professors and can also increase the ability of really good professors to stay in one place but grow in stature nationally. The impact of the technical revolution has created a need to provide services for lifelong learning. The internet and innovations like UWTV should be expanded in the future to meet the needs of mid-career professionals and others who want to learn new skills or just keep up with the technology.
Financing the future of education
Student involvement should be considered in developing curriculum - kind of a “pay per view” analogy. It may be an interesting idea to consider having students pay part of their tuition after they graduate as an investment in the ongoing health of the university. It would create a stream of income, but also make the universities accountable for creating career-ready people who can afford to pay the ongoing tuition.
Themes from the Conversation
Actively Promote Multicultural Environment
Enhance Faculty Discussions
Utilize Region’s Resources
Chris Knaus, Regent and Graduate Student, College of Education
Jim Antony, Professor, College of Education
Dawn Mason, Consultant and former City Council Member
Susan Mosberg, Graduate Student, College of Education
Walter Parker, Professor, College of Education
Harvey Sadis, Educator
Paull Shin, Washington State Senator
Marjan Zhargami, Undergraduate Student Neurobiology
This follow-up dinner focused much more explicitly on ways in which the University of Washington can begin to promote democracy among its students and in the community. All involved agreed that conversational dinners were a great starting point, but that if the Conversation about the Future ended with these dinners, then the UW would have lost a powerful opportunity. Further comments stressed the importance of having small group interaction and bridging communities, businesses, campuses, and policy-makers through such conversational dinners. The participants all pledged to continue and support efforts such as this, but agreed that the leadership should and must come from the University of Washington, which has vast educational resources like no other institution in the region.
Overall, the tone of the conversation placed a great deal of emphasis on the University of Washington to foster critical thinking and critical awareness about their surroundings and the world in general. This was seen as a precursor to fostering democracy, and yet an area that the University is sorely lacking in. An important caveat is that not all conversations need to be centered on oppression (e.g. racism, sexism, classism) or democracy. Fostering democracy and critical thinking do not require courses in critical thinking or democracy, but rather, can and should be done as a part of the way the UW operates. Courses should reflect this greater goal, as should the way in which university governance operates. Any and all places where students can learn should be utilized, and the UW does not adequately utilize its resources in this regard.
A central problem in addressing democracy is understanding the social, educational, and institutional inequality that greatly favors white middle class students, families, and communities. The UW, then, must take steps to ensure that inequality is addressed and talked about prior to engaging in conversations about democracy. A core aspect of this lies with white people addressing their own privilege and serving the needs of people of color rather than their own needs. UW can take systematic steps to help promote this, but currently is silent from that conversation (which is why many in the communities of color are very skeptical of the UW). The UW does not even have a required multicultural course, whereas every other four year institution in the state does. Many professors (and community leaders, senators, etc.) of color are in a double bind because they are often the sole supporters of many students (and community members). Professors of color, then, must advise and support many more students than most white professors, and yet this type of work is not considered for tenure. Yet these professors often are the only reason many students of color came to UW and stay here. That the UW does not support these professors and acknowledge their work and dedication serves to divide the community and could be a powerful tool to educate white people as to how educational dynamics drastically differ by race.
Democratic conversations, then, must occur and focus on the real issues of racism, classism, sexism, and other forms of oppression that limit the type of participation and quality of education many students get. UW must teach about stereotypes, and this is best done through talking about commonalties. Most women fear walking through garages and dark places on campus at night, yet this is rarely talked about in courses that many women might have had fear getting to. These are the types of everyday experiences that can be talked about in courses that will raise awareness (men's) and address commonality (women's). The UW needs to teach about parallel communities, and how people of color experience UW drastically different than do white people. This is an uncomfortable exposure for many privileged students, but core to understanding oppression. A truly democratic conversation will result in participants having increased heart beats and being truly uncomfortable. This is exactly what we need in classes, but typically, professors (and students) stop anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. The reality is that the more often you are uncomfortable, the more you will be comfortable with that uneasy feeling, and this is exactly how people learn to work with and prosper in diverse surroundings.
UW experience must focus on commonality, and the notion of mutually intertwined destinies. The problem is, the UW rarely models this. In political conversations, the community is rarely involved centrally, and the Sound Transit fiasco has been a case in point. The UW needs to model the connections it has with the community, and then demonstrate how to foster and be a leader in this regard to the students. In this manner, the UW can begin to feel like a democratic community. But in striving to become a community, the UW must first model what it wishes to create. This means involving community and students in decision-making processes as well as in educational opportunities.
In outreach, this would translate into the UW taking personal approaches to schools. This does not mean mass mailings, information packets, or tutorials on test-taking, but rather individual partnerships with schools. In this manner, professors can work on research in schools while providing a needed link to higher education in general. Placing students and faculty in partnerships with schools creates individual ownership while providing immense learning and mentoring opportunities for K-12 and UW students. This would challenge the very real perspective that the UW does "outreach" through using "experts" who go "educate" the children and communities who do not know much. It would instead focus on placing people within communities, not as outsiders who come in and tell the community and schools what to do. In this way, rather than lament the fact that not all schools offer Advance Placement (AP) credit courses, the UW could help implement and teach AP courses in schools that are lacking. This is a profound way to connect the community, provide assistance with schools, and promote the educational equality needed to begin talking about democracy.
The key to creating a democratic community is through acknowledging and working through everyday injustice. Professors should talk about the injustice that affects how students in a class have been educationally prepared. The UW should talk about providing support for the local food bank. The campus should be aware of the homeless problem just blocks from campus, and talk about ways of dealing with it. If professors are not willing to step up and creatively incorporate such everyday injustice into the classrooms, then the UW cannot seriously think about promoting democracy much less addressing inequality.
Currently, higher education and K-12 are fighting for financial scraps from the business community. But rather than fight amongst each other, there should be a real seamless pipeline that connects educational efforts and collaboratively works to secure funding. This can only be achieved through higher education's presence on K-12 campuses. UW should try to emulate the efforts at the California State University system, where campuses can grant on-site admissions, where the admissions and financial aid officers travel to campuses and provide packages and admissions within an hour.
What is our responsibility to minority students as an institution of higher education?
How does the university admit students?
What are the numbers of minority faculty?
There is currently a lot of pressure for African-American students. Not only having to think about getting good grades but also being a "representative" of the African-American student body. There is a struggle for minority students pursuing careers in academia because they need to make compromises to be successful. It's the culture that exists within the culture that is the problem. People need to feel like they can succeed, it depends on how they feel on the inside, what kind of person they are.
The UW can do two things. First, students at the UW need to be able to relate to people like themselves in order to feel that they, too, can succeed. Second, we need to get out and connect the UW to the outside community.
Texas, California, and Washington all have terrible admission numbers for minority students. So, is McCormick serious about reversing the I-200 trend? How do we do this is the big question. Students have to compete with each other, and the problem lies in the fact that students are coming from different starting points. We need to find something to replace ethnicity in our admissions.
Also, we need to get UW minority students to go back out to the community and motivate students, let the students know that they too can succeed.
What is going on with K-12?
We have identified that these problems are not just about the UW, but problems do exist within the university community. For example, there have been many issues with how professors deal with students, this may stem from the University's emphasis on research over teaching. We need to empower students and take back our communities, identify students at a young age to let them know that they have potential. The university needs to be diverse in order to encourage this to continue. With a diverse university we can cultivate our community and go back to the outside community and continue a positive cycle for minority students.
Notes: Veta Schlimgen
Moderator: Le’a Kent, GPSS Vice-President
On May 2, 2000, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) hosted the fourth of its discussions in conjunction with President McCormick’s "Conversation About the Future." Le’a Kent, GPSS Vice-President, moderated this discussion about the present and future responsibility of the state to the University and the University to the state. Eleven students attended this hour and a half discussion. Graduate students came from the School of Education, Evans School of Public Policy, the Departments of Geography, Statistics, English, and Genetics, among others. Some attendees had worked with the Washington State Legislature and with the Higher Education Coordinating Board; consequently, they were able to bring a knowledge of the University’ governing bodies to the discussion.
The State to the University
Attendees prefaced their discussion about the responsibility of the state to the University by drawing attention to some distinct qualities about Washington residents and higher education. The number of well- educated residents of this state is proportionately high compared to other states. This, in part, is fueled by the fact that more Washington residents are attending college than ever before, a phenomenon due to the high number of community colleges around the state. This is a fact that students considered at they discussed the future of the mutual relationship between the state and the University.
Financial Support – Decreasing the State’s role
Statistics on universities with a greater local control over its money – including substantial financial aid to offer incoming students – revealed an increase in attendance. These schools were able to offer the aid necessary to attract students who otherwise would not have been able to attend. Attendees took this as an indication that universities are capable of administering aid in a productive manner and felt that this should be an option the University’s governing bodies consider.
University to the State
Like the state legislature, student attendees identified costs as the crux of the relationship between the state and the University. The drive to shift the burden of education to students has yet to resolve the issue of exclusivity in which students who can afford increases continue to enter higher education and students who cannot afford them are deterred from entering the University.
In light of the fact that the University’s current relationship is basically a financial one, the University must focus on building a closer relationship with the state by focusing on its relationship to individual residents.
Themes from the Conversation:
Difficulty in Recruiting Faculty
Restructuring of On-Campus Dental Clinics
Can open on-campus clinics with own faculty practice. This will bring more patients in, which will create more clinical opportunities for Dental students. This will also address the need to teach students advanced techniques that are only available in the field (not currently on campus). Further, supplemental income from clinics will help encourage faculty to stay.
Students need to connect with dentists in the field to complete their clinical work and to learn advanced techniques. This provides extra-mural based education (like the medical model). Need to restructure coursework and program to provide for such opportunities.
As part of the Conversation About the Future of the University, a dinner was held at Regent Evan's house to discuss methods to improve the University's level of connection and of communication to the surrounding communities. Several active community members attended the meeting including legislators, business professionals, students and faculty. The following is a summary of the discussions held that night.
Current state of the University
There is a reputation of elitism and aloofness surrounding the University of Washington in parts of the Statewide community. Some people feel that the UW does not interact with the community in a way which is mutually beneficial but instead sees itself as being separated from its surroundings. Though the UW often conducts research in which it studies the surrounding areas, there is a perception that this interaction is not mutually beneficial. For those people who have not attended the UW, or have no children or relatives attending the school, it may be difficult to justify the University's budget or prominence in state affairs. However there does seem to be a growing perception that the UW brings in firms and businesses which otherwise would not be here.
There have been efforts in the past by both the Legislature and the University to reach out to different members of the community by providing non-traditional education in the form of branch campuses, night classes, and the creation of a technology center which was intended to promote the University's interactions with the community. Though these methods of expanding education have all been effective at varying levels, there still continues to be a level of ambiguity amongst faculty as to what their role is in relation to the outside community. Berkeley's business school is an example of a program which interacts with the community in a mutually beneficial way. Faculty can be found reaching out and participating in local affairs, and the community can often reach in to the University and find an accessible and outgoing faculty. There are departments at the UW which participate with the community in this way (medical school, geography), however there are many departments which continue to see themselves as being separate from the community, and seem unwilling to participate in outreach.
Despite the reluctance by some departments to reach out, there are many success stories of the University participating, and benefiting the community, though these stories may often go untold. The UW is a world leader in the next generation Internet 2 and the Gigapop, and our strong computer science and engineering programs have brought many businesses to the State. Many departments on campus have produced research projects which have greatly benefited the community. If we are to improve the University's reputation with the community, we must recognize the necessity to promote its programs, and aggressively take its message to the state.
Future of the University
The UW has a history of successful projects, however these successes seem to go unnoticed due to the lack of an effective public relations message by the UW. If the University is to improve its relations with the state, it must create, package, and deliver a compact and simple message to the community which will help them begin to recognize the UW's relevance to their lives. A strategic plan should be developed in which the University targets specific regions in the state, and informs these regions of the UW's effects on their community.
By creating a central theme for the UW and delivering that message to the community, the University will begin to create a reputation which will precede it wherever it goes. In 1987 there was a successful movement by the collegiate community in Washington State in which it created an agenda for the future, and took that message to the state. By proactively delivering the message to the community, the states higher education community set up a reputation with the State which allowed it to expand and improve. The University would be well served by following a similar approach to its future.
Students are an important part of the University's future. The UW has one of the lowest alumni gift rates in the country, and the school spirit amongst alumni seems to pale in comparison to schools such as WSU. Undergraduates are ambassadors of the University, and should be seen as such. Those students who graduate from the UW can continue to contribute to the school after graduation, whether it be through alumni lobbying of the state legislature on education issues, or creating social connections between the school and the outside community. In order to promote student connectedness in the school, it may be necessary to create a greater sense of community amongst students. Ways to achieve this might include school graduation ceremonies, and aggressively recruiting graduating seniors to join the alumni association. Harnessing students' passions and interests and projecting that to the surrounding community could serve as a powerful way to deliver the University's message.
Teaching is a huge part of the University, though it's often obscured by the research element of the UW. Teaching can go beyond the classrooms, and into the community. Steps should be taken to promote and help those faculty that do reach out. The schools message should contain the idea that, "no matter who you are, you benefit from the UW." Whether it be creating a message for the future, or emphasizing the University's role in the present, the UW should initiate a strategic and inclusive message for the state in which it informs people of its place in the state's community. The UW should begin generating its own news, instead of reacting to requests by the community for information. The best way to achieve this, given the large decentralized nature of the University, may be to hire a full-time professional who can help create the University's central message, and then go on to spread it.
Themes from this April 21st conversation:
Collaboration with other related departments and professions:
The Role of Faculty:
Roger Chase, Attorney; Mari Clack, UW Regent; Philip Cleveland, MD, UW School of Medicine; Jamie Kooy, MD, UW Resident Family Medicine; Robert Maudlin, PharmD, UW Family Medicine; Mary Ann Murphy, Casey Family Partners; Gary Newkirk, MD, UW Family Medicine; George Novan, MD, UW School of Medicine; Janie Tresko, UW School of Medicine; Teresa Vance, PA-C, UW Family Medicine; Merideth Wendland, UW Medicine Resident
The medical and academic medical profession:
For academic medicine to fulfill its purpose, education needs to take place in specific areas and be targeted to specific groups. The government's choice of at what level to fund higher education determines the number of physicians who will be able to make medical care available.
Both physicians and patients are impacted by health care accessibility and delivery. There continues to be a need to broaden the base of medical training to include areas of family dysfunction and the related problems such as physical and emotional abuse and neglect. A recent study identified five factors that affect the delivery of medical care in a community: (1) poverty, (2) chemical dependency, (3) mental health, (4) pregnancy, and (5) accessibility to care. Generally, ethics, economics of practice, etc. are taught more effectively in the residency setting, although, the UWSOM has begun to add courses dealing with those issues.
By educating the public, they can become advocates not only for their own health, but also for a system that ensures funding and training of quality physicians. As society has changed, the medical education field and thereby physicians have changed. The "old country doctor" plays a different role now-no longer the "boss"; now she and her patients are partners in health care.
Medical education itself - both undergraduate and graduate - is paramount. The next step would be to make sure that training occurs at sufficient sites to ensure the safety net services (at least until some form of global health coverage comes into existence.)
The public's role in the medical and academic medical area:
The general public needs to understand the important contributions of academic medicine. There is a bias against the physicians' image; the public views it as a privileged profession. The medical profession is suffering from its own success.
Those not involved in medical education and graduate medical education programs have little knowledge of the workings of academic medicine. Major scientific discoveries are in the press, but there is insufficient awareness as to how physicians are trained. Similarly, people know little of the role of residency programs in providing medical care to the under-served.
We need to educate the public concerning what is involved in medical training and what it provides. Specific contributions are: (1) cutting-edge services because of the academic and research focus within the community; (2) doctors of today who choose primary care over a lucrative and less stressful lifestyle so that they can give to the community and their patients; (3) countless volunteer hours dedicated to teaching.
We need to increase consumer awareness of the product and use; i.e., the excellent medical care that is, and has been available, needs to be utilized more prudently. Provide information that focuses on health care, prevention, and how to become more selective and discerning regarding available treatments and services. There is a sharp contrast in the public's attitude toward car insurance vs. medical insurance - while car insurance is utilized only if absolutely necessary, medical insurance is frequently used without thought of system impact.
Educate the public regarding the importance of quality higher education. Engage consumers in the debates and educate them about the obstacles involved in medical academics, training and practice.
Schools must redefine primary care practice so that students who enter the field can have what they perceive as a higher quality lifestyle. Students are voting with their feet again when they graduate by choosing those fields of medicine that seem to have a structured life style (i.e., well defined shifts in Emergency Medicine and Anesthesiology). Family practice involves a high degree of commitment to patients. Development of the type of close doctor-patient relationship that is the hallmark of family practice requires time and skill, but yields immeasurable rewards. Primary care physicians do not make high incomes and do not have lots of free time and because of the federal fiscal constraints and regulations; it is not a privileged profession.
There needs to be an increased community involvement by residency programs, physician preceptors, students, and other caregivers via career days, local mentoring, and sponsorship programs. Increase the positive media exposure to encompass the entire academic medical arena. Contact and utilize professional public relations persons from the sponsoring institutions to offer other suggestions. Provide information to area colleges about the medical education process, the University of Washington School of Medicine, the local residency programs, and community employment opportunities.
The government's role in the medical and academic medical area:
In an environment of fiscal constraint, higher education is frequently a low funding priority and thus physicians, preceptors, and institutions are challenged to continue to provide the same quality and quantity of services and training.
The increasing numbers of regulations imposed upon the medical profession are having an effect on the number of students and residents that can be trained. Medicare regulations make it almost impossible for students to see Medicare patients. Ultimately, the fewer number of students and residents that can be trained, the fewer physicians there will be to meet the medical needs of the community.
The other crucial issue is the increasing debt load that students have when they leave medical school and that residents still have when they leave residency programs. Despite the fact that salaries for primary care physicians are rising overall, the rate of increase is quickly outstripped by educational indebtedness. This issue makes it more difficult to fill the need for primary care physicians in rural areas, because typically, the wages are lower in those under-served regions.
Government regulations and the fears they engender are hampering the ability to recruit volunteer clinical faculty for teaching. We need to encourage the public to insist that the government make higher education and the need to educate future physicians a funding priority. The UW has a comparatively low wage scale, which allows other companies to hire away very gifted and qualified researchers and teachers. As federal regulations increase and funding decreases, the future of medical education becomes more dismal.
We should encourage the public to compel our representatives to work to ease some of the regulations and restrictions that are imposed within the academic medical arena; to advocate for incentives that reward programs and communities that train primary care physicians who do practice in the under-served areas.
The medical school's role in the medical and academic medical area:
Rural medical communities should play a bigger role in recruiting, mentoring and selecting the medical students.
The UW Admissions process has gotten a very negative reputation among many UW applicants. The large number of applicants has led to an elitist attitude and an environment that is aloof, cold and unfriendly. Students report that they have been treated very poorly by interviewers who are confrontational or who stand up and turn their back while the student is talking.
When there are changes needed, it seems to take quite a while for resolution. Also, it is challenging at times for the WWAMI regions to know what is expected of them. Each department has a different way of doing things and it is seldom clear whom to contact with questions.
There is a need for the University to reassess its funding policies and to begin to fund the desired medical needs outcomes.
WWAMI sites have an excellent reputation, which acts as a draw and ultimately helps to fulfill the need for more rural primary care providers. In order to improve the program, the School Of Medicine should encourage and invite the WWAMI communities and regional faculty to participate in the recruiting and mentoring of students.
Suggestions to accomplish this are sponsorships of local students, community recruitment and selection committees. Small communities can accomplish amazing goals if given the opportunity -- empower the communities to "own" and direct their own healthcare solutions. Re-direct funding so that it is given to programs according to their proven ability to train rural primary care physicians.
Have the University assist efforts to attract top quality resident physicians. Residency program members teach UW medical students and 75% of UW graduates stay in the Pacific Northwest to establish their practices. Boise benefits from the marquee name of being integrated into the University. We on the other hand are freestanding residency programs.
In some ways, the University owes us nothing, but should bear in mind the benefits they do receive by being able to use our efforts to teach and to list us as members of a WWAMI community that provides primary care physicians to the inland regions of the Pacific Northwest. Internal medicine does not benefit from a coordinated recruiting of applicants as does Boise. The University and its more tightly associated programs attract a huge applicant pool. Spokane is a small market in comparison to Seattle and Portland. Recruiting adequate numbers as well as adequate quality residents has been a struggle. The support of the Department of Medicine in referring graduating UW students to this program is much appreciated. However, Spokane misses out on the huge pool of applicants from other universities who apply to the west coast and have no concept that Spokane even exists. If there was a way for the University to see us as a much more integral part of their system-even to the point of letting us participate in batch interviews in Seattle as does Boise - we might be able to improve the number of quality applicants remaining in this region. If we want top quality physicians as teachers in the WWAMI Program and in practice, we need to be able to recruit top quality resident physicians.
The UW School of Medicine has an outstanding rating as a medical school and as a result there are 6.5 applicants per opening (the national average is 2.5). The current applicant generally is older, has more community service experience, is more realistic about the lifestyle of a physician, and wants to provide a broader range of services. Suggestions for improving this situation included increasing the focus on customer relations, providing training for the interviewers, utilization of more regional and rural faculty in the interview process, and decentralization of the applicant process.
Additionally, an examination of the organization, process, time frame, location and structure of the Department of Admissions should be made a priority with the UWSOM. Currently, students evaluate the site and faculty at the end of each clerkship rotation. The results are compiled and sent to the applicable academic department. If negative trends are noted, action is taken. Also, the Liaison Committee of Medical Education must approve the curriculum in order for the school to remain a certified and approved facility. Improvement could come from quicker and more proactive response to issues.
An attitude of teamwork needs to be instituted and fostered at the University that reaches throughout the WWAMI region. Continue to encourage department autonomy, but find common ground and purpose.
There are currently two wars waging: between primary care and specialty physician training programs, and between teaching and research. The goal of primary care medical education is to produce intuitive and compassionate physicians. The University has an educational continuum in place that targets primary care in WWAMI partnerships from grade school through community practice and further. What has built the UW Reputation in recent years is the number of graduates that go into the much-needed primary care fields. Recommendations were made to equalize funding between fields (primary & specialty, undergraduate & graduate) depending upon fulfillment of the UWSOM mission statement. Currently, 55% of Spokane Family Medicine Residency Program's graduates ultimately practice in a rural location and the Rural Training Track in Spokane has 90% of its residents practice in a rural location.
The solution then is to define the medical care needs of the region and then invest in programs that will get the desired outcomes.
Chris Knaus, Regent and Graduate Student, College of Education
Ernest Aguilar, Pan-American Trade Consulting
Jim Antony, Professor, College of Education
Mike Hall, UW and WSU Alumni
Dawn Mason, Consultant and former City Council Member
Evelyn Hawkins, Associate Director, Higher Educate Coordinating Board
Walter Parker, Professor, College of Education
Susan Mosberg, Graduate Student, College of Education
Marjan Zhargami, Undergraduate Student Neurobiology
The first conversation was an attempt to come to an understanding of how the guests define democracy. While no single definition was agreed upon, all participants shared their experiences coming to understand and critically view democracy. Participants stressed the need for higher education to be at the forefront of ensuring democratic values--in students, in the communities, and in leadership in K-12 education. It was agreed that the University of Washington, and higher education in general, need to do much more work in order to ensure citizens are adequately prepared for participation in a democratic society.
Some suggestions for fostering democratic action on the campus and in the surrounding communities include:
Notes: Veta Schlimgen
Discussion led by: GPSS President Rich Heyman
On April 19th, 2000, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) hosted the third in a series of discussions about the future of graduate education at the University of Washington in conjunction with President McCormick's "Conversation About the Future." This discussion, entitled "Graduate Student Labor," was moderated by GPSS President Rich Heyman. It was well attended; students came from many departments and schools on campus - like history, applied math, law, geography, political science, electrical engineering, Slavic languages and literatures, and public affairs. UW President Richard McCormick also attended.
Graduate student labor has become a topic of much interest at the University of Washington due to attempts by teaching assistants, readers, and tutors to have their union recognized by the University. Many attendees reported that they supported this effort and that they had signed union cards. The course of the discussion was characterized by students questioning why the administration has decided not to support this effort and why students support it. The following is an overview of that conversation.
Rich opened the discussion by explaining that there are two broad types of graduate student labor employed on campus: research and teaching assistantships. Attendees immediately began to point out the advantages to graduate students to be represented by a union. One student said that the only way graduate student instructors can have a voice among the powers that determine TA (and faculty) working conditions - and undergraduate students' learning conditions - is through union representation.
TA Unionization and RAs
Students discussed the fact that current unionization efforts include only teaching assistants and what that means for RAs. A GPSS member pointed out that GPSS represents all graduate students and lobbies for them on issues like health insurance benefits. She pointed out, however, that GPSS, as a part of the University, cannot negotiate with the University on the behalf of TAs or RAs. For this reason, one attendee emphasized that the union has become graduate students' only option. Attendees believe that TAs success will bring comparable benefits to RAs. One person explained that TA salaries are allocated by the state legislature and RA salaries by grant monies. This difference in funding raises questions about an RA union, but with the success of the TA union, RAs, paid under the same university standards as TAs, will be able to expect similar benefits.
Variable TA Rates
President McCormick said that the Provost has appointed Marsha Landhold and Dean Hodge to a taskforce that will look into workload and pay for TAs, including variable TA rates. One student noted that a graduate student union will be able to negotiate the levels of variable TA pay rates so that, as is the case at other universities, TAs in the social sciences and humanities do not receive a significantly lower rate of pay than those in the hard sciences. Additionally, she said that the union will serve to create a community of TAs where, united, they can bargain for TA benefits.
Discussion with President McCormick
President McCormick entered the conversation and responded to questions graduate students posed on the subject of unionization.
One student from political science indicated that the rhetoric of collegiality is usually engaged when a patronizing and patriarchal management attempts to stymie unionization by "taking care of the problem." McCormick clarified that the collegiality to which he referred was one of mutual cooperation and conversation.
President McCormick said he would welcome the opportunity to continue this conversation in the future.
GPSS President Heyman reiterated that the important message to take away from this conversation is that students feel the most significant issue is participation and having a voice in decisions made in the life of the institution. All other issues emanate from this. TAs, readers, and tutors who signed union cards have said that their current participation is ineffective. They seek to become co-mangers of education and partners in shared-governance by pursuing recognition of their union. Only then can they secure a binding contract.
On April 11, 2000, Between 10 and 15 students participated in the discussion, representing a variety of departments including sociology, electrical engineering, education, geography, chemistry and history. The initial part of the conversation was spent defining what mentoring means to students of various disciplines, including graduate as well as professional degree programs. The discussion shifted to the conventions followed in choosing a mentor, what makes for a good mentor - mentee relationship and what it is that each party hopes to gain. Suggestions were made to improve the mentor experience for grad students from the day that they begin their program, including possible workshops to give students a head start in setting up successful mentorships.
I. Definition of Mentoring
It was surprising to learn that the conception of mentoring was quite different for many of the grad students in attendance for this conversation. Most were quite familiar with the role and purpose of advising, but the goals of mentoring were not immediately so clear. Questions arose such as, "What are the expectations of the relationship [between mentor and mentee]?"
One view was that faculty acted more or less as advisers. Mentoring encompassed setting up official relationships with alumni and others in the community outside of the University setting. This view was fairly specific to certain departments, including School of Public Affairs and the School of Business Administration, in which a career services adviser worked to set up such mentorships. In these programs, beyond the first meeting, the responsibility generally rests on the two parties involved to continue communications.
Summarizing the conversation up to this point, mentoring appears to include two categories: the host of different formal relationships (advisers and mentors students are assigned) and advisers outside of the University. Informal relationships (someone not on their committee) sought by the student may include an adviser, a chair or someone in the field. Rich also referenced two sets of mentoring guidelines, one for students and one for faculty, published by the University of Michigan. This information is also available online: http://www.rackham.umich.edu/StudentInfo/Publications/FacultyMentoring/contents.html.
II. How can the mentoring experience be improved?
A. How to chose a mentor? Guidelines.
Students need to know what they should be looking for in a mentor relationship. Also, faculty may need guidance in becoming better mentors. A 5th year graduate stated, "A lot of our faculty do not know how to be mentors. I'm still trying to decipher good advice from bad advice." Advisers also do not always provide the best information. Several times it was suggested that there be some sort of network of past and current students that new grads could talk to in order to get advice from people who have worked through the University system.
B. Flexibility and Advising
Students voiced concern and encouraged advisers to discuss all options available to students both within the PhD as well as the MA track. The question arose as to whether or not the department has an obligation to tell students when the job market is poor. With respect to flexibility, the EE department allows students in the masters program to either write a thesis or conduct a project. The fact that masters students currently earn more than PhD students highlights the importance of learning about the experiences of others in the same boat to decide which track best suits any individual student.
C. Increased Interdepartmental Communication
One of the strongest messages to arise from this conversation was the need for more opportunities for communication between grads from different departments. One suggestion was for more social structure that allowed additional conversations, not unlike this conversation on mentoring, helping students compare experiences in different fields.
Another person put it as "creating tools to network," realizing that a communications structure should include students, peers, professors and advisers.
One panelist pointed to a yearlong seminar which includes urban planning or forestry resources and public affairs classes that have brought students together. This student said that it would be interesting to see if overlap and connections made between students will be beneficial. This may be the kind of course that the University should replicate campus wide.
Some believed that it was unrealistic that the university or departments should have formal mentors. However, we, as a campus community, can try to promote communication and give people an opportunity to exchange information.
Another student suggested that there be a get-together of some sort for new grad students to learn about the formal and informal expectations. Additionally, one student noted, "This is especially important to students from backgrounds where college or graduate school is not well known."
Overall the goals student attendees identified are ones that will save students time and make the process of finding a mentor easier.
"There needs to be a formal University plan, resource or objective about mentoring," one panelist expressed her hopes that the plan would include some of the specifics outlined in the current conversation, "something just like this. We all have different ideas about this topic and we could meet regularly, discuss the topic for a half hour or so and move on to a more social event for the second half." Ultimately, this may lead to regular discussion, social get-togethers for grad students held at various places on campus, to exchange ideas, experiences, and to help students feel part of the larger campus community.
In conclusion, students are calling for increased communication, clarification for incoming students with regard to mentorships and reliable career advising. Concrete suggestions include constructing a database of stories from people who have graduated from a given department. The idea was to find out what people are doing with their degrees (chemistry, in this case) and how they got where they are. Further, "it would be nice to be able to contact people in this database in order to ask questions and to talk with people who have completed their degree."
Although a formal set of policies on mentoring seemed unrealistic to some, many believed that it would be productive for the university to provide resources and information so that students have some shared concept about mentoring, find opportunities to learn more about it and how to set up mentoring relationships.
Finally, it was proposed that the University and GPSS work together to develop objectives for mentoring and to put together a general information workshop for new graduate students.
Professional Staff Organization Forums were held on February 23, March 14 and April 11. The three forums were open conversations. What are included below are individual's comments with summations inserted for clarification of the dialogs. Here are the main topics discussed:
Continued improvements to administrative systems are vital to the Professional Staff who must use them daily. There have been many improvements, but there are still areas in dramatic need of fixes. For instance, equipment inventories and insurance inventories must be entered and maintained separately. An individual working on the USER project stated that a lot of changes in administrative systems will be seen in the next couple of years, but pointed out that staff working on these improvements are hard to retain because they are in such demand. There are so many high-tech workers employed on these administrative improvements that bringing them all up to the salary they could command elsewhere would be extremely costly. Therefore staff retention is important to the successful upgrade of these systems.
There was a request for a telecommuting policy, and a response that such a policy at the UW is imminent.
The PSO Board is working with the University on a telecommuting policy. It
is expected that telecommuting will be a growing method of work style at
Some members of the audience stated that telecommuting will especially be
helpful during maternity leave and is a great way to get lots of work done
without interruptions. It was seen as especially effective for those who
live outside the city. (The UW doesn't provide ferry subsidies, for
The University will have employees and departments sign an agreement outlining in detail how, when and where the telecommuting will take place. Concerns were expressed about which staff would be allowed or selected to participate. Possible morale problems could develop over some getting the privilege to telecommute while others are denied.
Many participants do not like voice mail. Some felt that it is used as a
shield to keep from being in touch with others, and it creates a lot of
telephone tag. One person, however, said that voice mail offers him the
opportunity to obtain a lot of progress on his important work without
spending time on minor details.
|Email:||Most present felt that we cannot do our jobs without having email and that it is very efficient. It offers communication to groups of people at a time and frees us from scheduling conflicts. One person uses email to page him so that he instantly gets messages even if he is away from office. Some concern was expressed that there is a fine line between official and personal communication. Individuals were worried about legal ramifications expressed in recent reminders about private use of email, circulated at the UW.|
A repeated complaint was that there's a lack of consistency in pay for the same work throughout the University. In the ranks of the Professional Staff, individual job definitions can have a broad range of salaries. Recently some individuals have received large raises while colleagues who do similar or even more difficult and important job tasks remain at below market wages. This is eroding morale and promoting job searches elsewhere. Professional Staff salary raises are not explicitly sought from the legislature by the Administration and in the past we were often "linked" with the Faculty salaries. Faculty don't necessarily see it to their advantage to be linked with Professional Staff and don't know what Professional Staff contribute to the UW. In recent years there appears to be new salary programs developed just with the Faculty. The Professional Staff are worried that they do not have an advocate for higher salaries working for them in the Administration. It was noted that there is no new money for the new 2% "guaranteed" faculty salary increases; therefore these raises may erode the existing number of faculty positions or take money away from Professional Staff raises. Suggestions were offered on ways to retain good employees in light of insufficient raises. They included offering benefits like childcare, free parking, and applying the 6 credits of tuition exemption toward your child's future tuition. One person felt that the University should opt for reduced or free tuition for dependents (like many other universities). A few felt that instead of 6 free university credits, staff should be allowed to take the extension credits for free. They felt that 5 student slots per course should be set aside for staff. There should also be an option of taking computer classes that have a fee instead of the 6 free university credits.
Another point was raised with certain job categories like Research Scientists where the range of salaries is huge. People get stuck in a lower range and cannot move up easily. It was stated that the Assistant Vice President of HR is changing many procedures and trying to move salary reviews for Professional Staff back to their departments. Several felt that some of the departments do not have enough money to raise the salary of their Professional Staff. Therefore budgets should be created for Professional Staff salary improvements.
There's a new salary survey on a national scale currently underway, which will be much better than the previous surveys. This will hopefully help support salary level increases.
Personnel Policies and Practices:
Complaints expressed included a personnel request that was lost by the UW Personnel department for many weeks; another complained that completely unqualified applicants were referred to the hiring department; and, because a supervisor needs to approve requests for upgrades, some upgrade requests never make it to HR.
Supervisors are sometimes uninformed especially on services available to help in disputes between staff and their supervisors. Mediation services are available on campus (Staff Training, Law School), but not often used during supervisor/employee disputes.
Some suggestions were made to improve the existing Staff Award system, for example, a list in University Week of those staff receiving service awards, or a luncheon for those reaching service benchmarks. One individual who had served on the Committee to select UW Staff Award winners pointed out the irony that the Committee was instructed to check with the supervisor before the employee could receive the award, even though nominations are backed with much documentation. It was noted that medals are only awarded to faculty winners, not to staff. Also the UW Annual Report highlighted the Faculty and Student award winners but did not mention the Staff winners. The practice of allowing an individual to choose from an assortment of service awards was complimented.
A few individuals expressed concern that HR should be asking for staff input before working on policies. It was pointed out that HR had test groups for policies like telecommuting and that staff are involved.
It was announced that as of October 2000, a new funded training program for supervisors would be in place. Suggestions from the audience included that the classes should be free and that all performance/merit reviews should include 180-degree reviews, where staff review their supervisors. One participant commented that some employees could never be trained to be good supervisors. They are just incapable of good supervision. Another said that bad supervisors often make good employees leave. The training program in October is open to everyone including those who are not supervisors. There is also a push to have a web-based pilot program for supervisory training. Some felt that the training should start from top down - including the President, the Deans and Chairs of departments - and that a few people at the top really could use these programs.
Many felt that a requirement for all supervisors, including existing supervisors, to take supervisory training would be a real plus. Other points made:
This is seen as very important to help with staff retention. Some departments bring in expert instructors because it is cheaper than sending employees out for training. Release time, tuition help and/or tuition exemptions are needed for UW certificate programs as well as other professional development programs. Traveling to professional conferences should be considered part of professional development. The second most important concern to the Professional Staff after salaries is keeping their skills up-to-date, especially if they are in a high-tech job. Technological change and proliferating programs mean that Professional Staff frequently feel overwhelmed with the need to learn more quickly. This is one area where the UW does a mediocre job. This is very sad since we are an institution of higher education. Suggestions made to answer training needs included:
Quality of Work Life:
Some felt that they are 2nd class citizens at the UW. There is no sense of being part of a team and Professional Staff feel less effort is made to include them in much of the UW's culture. Some departments are better at including staff in departmental culture and activities than others. The Professional Staff teach, do research, run large organizations and support every aspect of teaching and research accomplished at the UW, yet we are often invisible in budget and planning documents. Retention issues are openly discussed in reference to the Faculty but are equally important among the staff. Employee/employer loyalty is very low. More long-time employees are leaving the University, not just over salary levels but because they feel undervalued as employees. This is a serious morale issue for some staff and contributes to staff turnover.
The Professional Staff Organization's Board decided that we would hold three forums. The structure would be a moderated, but open discussion. Notes would be taken at each forum and distributed to the PSO lisproc, email@example.com. This final report is the culmination and summation of the forum process. To act as a starting point for each of the forums, participants were asked to review the "Anderson Report." R. L. Anderson and Associates presented "Employee Relations Assessment Report for the University of Washington" to the UW administration on March 24, 1997. The report reviewed many topics with the staff of the UW at that time. Several forums, similar to ours, were used to collect information and ideas. We intended our forums to be a follow-up to the report. The primary topic areas discussed in the Anderson Report and our forums were:
On April 7, 2000, students met with President McCormick to talk about the future. Students first raised the issue that, while UW is one of the top places to learn Biostatistics in the world -great theory and critical thinking - if you leave with just a Masters you are not desirable and not prepared to do the job. There is insufficient real experience, and lack of mentoring to give you an idea of how and where to apply the knowledge you have towards employment. If you are headed toward doing research or teaching, then the training to be had at this school is sufficient. Otherwise, you are expected to become skilled on the job.
There was annoyance expressed for the idea that most advisors in the program don't even ask about student goals. The assumption is that students will aim to teach or do research, and a sense of disappointment if this is not the case.
Industrial Hygiene, on the other hand, does expect students to go into the workplace, and provides sufficient internships and mentoring. These students feel they have good interaction with the community, and with potential employers from the on site experience.
In general, students felt it would behoove the University as a whole to have a more active community role - to participate in the state of public health in their own community as well as providing a place for training Healthcare professionals. Specifically, in addition to weak or non-existent community outreach programs, they felt that the UW was missing out entirely on web-based opportunity.
Diversity - Not only is this an issue in everyday class activity in Public Health, many parts of rural Washington have students with the perception that they cannot come into this program if they didn't apply and get in right out of high school.
UW needs to create demand for qualified students to enter the program. The K-12 partnership should be used to go out to schools with strong minority populations and work with them from the ground up; from the lower grades so that they begin to think that they can come here and succeed.
Additionally, Public Health is all about serving a diverse population. It is a real loss that we preclude attendance by minorities, which is largely our service population.
Research projects should exist within the community. For too long we have been going out into the community and asking them for data so we can decide what their problems are, but then not do anything about them. Our research findings need to be followed up on. Raise the questions and then addressed the issues as part of the research, rather than ending the project. University of N Carolina at Chapel Hill, it was noted, has an excellent program in this regard.
Research projects need to be structured so that they continue long term; not end when the class of students that has been conducting them graduates. Need to make sure that part of the program is to empower the community. We continue to take from them, using them for our projects, without giving much back.
The new Dean is making a good job of liaison with the community. The onus is on the administration and faculty, the long-term part of the U, to be responsible for continuing programs. Many students feel they are keeping things afloat with insufficient responsibility and support from departments. This brought up the need/desire for
Interdepartmental Cooperation and Programs - Public Health care delivery calls on so many other disciplines, we need to do a better job of communicating and cross-learning. This relates back to the technology issue. Students feel they are way behind in technological skills because the school does not provide access to current technologies as they should.
On the plus side, students felt well-funded, and that their teachers are committed and excellent, particularly if your research interest matches up with theirs. Space for student research, however, is limited.
Moderator: Gorkem Kuterdem
On April 5, 2000, approximately thirty members of the University community attended the first discussion sponsored by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. The topic was "Information Technology in Graduate Education: Research, Teaching, & Learning" and the meeting was conducted as a round-table discussion. Almost all participants were graduate students. The campus was well-represented by students from departments like Library and Information Sciences, Languages, Computer Sciences, Engineering, etc. Some also represented other campus organizations like ASUW and GPSS. The Graduate School’s associate dean of minority education division, Johnnella Butler also attended.
The hour-long discussion on the future of information technology focused on three areas of education – mentoring, teaching, and research. Teaching dominated the discussion; yet, the points participants brought up and the conclusions they drew from the conversation will help the University as it seeks to employ technology in higher education.
Attendees had little to say about graduate student mentoring and how it related to information technology. They noted both benefits and drawbacks. Students and faculty advisors can maintain easy communication at great distances through e-mail. Electronic mail also permits advisors and students more time to respond to queries – which can be both good and bad. The biggest drawback is that face-to-face communication is lost; consequently, the inferred intent of messages can break down communication (e.g. unintended displeasure conveyed by quick response).
TEACHING - Technology in teaching and learning
Graduate student participants in this conversation about the future of information technology in higher education addressed the many issues that must be considered in conjunction with any pedagogical change. Attendees discussed the needs that technological and distance learning will entail. They began with the Higher Education Coordinating Board’s (HECB) proposed mandate of a two-credit, on-line course for all state university students by 2010. Like the HECB, the Legislature leans toward replacing existing courses with an on-line version.
Participants questioned what aspects of higher education can go on-line and how this two-credit mandate could be made most useful by 2010. They also discussed the current uses of technological and distance learning, in particular. They investigated how the above mandate could be best implemented as well as how increased distance-learning will alter the higher education for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students at the University of Washington.
A number of UW schools and departments currently use information technology in their courses. Several attendees work in the Language Learning Center and could offer examples of the varying degrees of effectiveness that current technology entails. While they admitted students can attain and enhance language skills by using native-speaker media tools, students have little control over the speed of lessons. Attendees noted that this concern applies broadly to on-line learning. For example, students would have little or no control over the speed of an on-line lecture. A medical school attendee said that distance-learning had worked for one of her classes where the requisite number of specialists could not come to campus because of other obligations. This course used a satellite link to attain the specialists’ participation without their physical presence.
The problems and advantages brought up by these examples illustrates the two distinct ways distance-learning can be used: as a replacement for traditional instruction or as a supplement to it. During the discussion, participants consistently returned to these uses of technology in instruction.
COSTS - To the State, the University and to students
One concern of students, and a topic of interest to the University's governing board, is the various costs necessary for initiating and maintaining distance learning.
To begin with, participants pointed out that the costs of developing and maintaining distance learning will require consistent updating of technology as well as the employ of a large technology staff. Additionally, if the University intends to offer actual courses through this electronic medium, it will also have to hire more professors to conduct the additional courses. These new hires will also have to be conversant (or made conversant) with distance-learning technology. Participants stressed that hiring additional professors who will teach the increase in courses is essential to maintaining quality of education at this institution.
Another necessary expense that distance-learning will incur is in technology. Not only will the University have to support adequate terminals for everyone, but most likely students will also be required to have adequate home-based technology in order to access on-line learning. This may lead the University of Washington to require all in-coming students to have their own laptop, as is currently the case with a number of private and public institutions of higher education. This requirement, however, brings up larger questions of who will finance in-home technology. Participants noted that these costs will most likely fall to the student, just as book costs are currently their responsibility. The problem students at this discussion identified is that technology goes out of date much faster than books do. In fact, there are prohibitive costs associated with remaining up-to-date in the most current technology. Additionally, participants asked if this technology requirement will put a discriminatory burden on students from lower-income families who cannot afford even the minimum technological investments.
Other universities have resolved some of the questions by making financial aid available to students so they can buy computers, and the University of North Carolina has contracted with IBM in order to offer students computers at discounted rates. The problem this latter solution entails is that not all students use PCs.
Requiring all in-coming students have basic technology at home (like a laptop) raises another problem. Participants pointed out that these students may not have the necessary skills to use basic technology. Not just the University will be responsible for bringing all students up to a basic level of competency, but the state’s K-12 system must also cooperate. The persistent danger in this requirement is its potential to discriminate against students from other states – and other educational systems - who do not share the same minimum ability but want to attend the University of Washington.
Yet another problem with requiring all students to have personal technology in order to take University courses is the varying needs of students. For example, the hardware and appliances a chemistry student will need for recording formulas can vary greatly from those that an art student needs to register images. This disparity is an issue the University will confront as it seeks to implement a University-wide technology base.
THE STATE UNIVERSITY
Student participants raised numerous questions about the mutually-beneficial relationship between the University and the state and how distance-learning will change that relationship. If the University offers on-line courses that can be taken by students outside of the state of Washington – and even outside the country – then how will the relationship between the school and the state change? Should the state subsidize university education when students live and learn outside of the state? What responsibility will the University have to a state in which its students do not reside? Attendees were not able to resolve these questions, but believed they are crucial to future discussions of distance learning and education.
SUGGESTIONS FOR USING TECHNOLOGY IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Student attendees suggested a number of ways in which technology can be used to enhance current learning. They suggested that this be used as a model for future efforts to incorporate technology into higher education.
Participants emphasized that on-line learning can be well used to supplement courses the University already offers. Classes can offer on-line portions; for example, language courses could put verb conjugation exercises on-line. By shifting these time-consuming aspects of language learning to distance learning, more student-to-instructor class time will become available for, in this case, communication and pronunciation exercises. Again, both students and instructors need to have a certain level of technological knowledge to perform these tasks and the University needs to have adequate support staff to make on-line education reliable. Attendees emphasized that the personal interaction available in lectures or discussions should not be left to on-line learning, but by using technology to supplement courses in this manner overall student learning can be enhanced.
One participant familiar with ASUW's discussion about distance learning brought up a concern expressed by undergraduates. He explained that undergraduates are concerned that their degrees, earned from taking on-line courses, will not be as valuable as those obtained through in-class learning. This point led participants to a discussion of the nature of university education and what would be compromised by distance learning.
Students who take classes on campus have daily interaction with their peers; they become part of the University community. A significant element in graduate and undergraduate education is learning through peer review and peer mentoring. Distance learning, they pointed out, cannot compensate for interpersonal communication and the relationships students develop with their peers through daily contact.
As mentioned previously in this report, another concern attendees had with distance learning was the impact it will have on minorities and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Will increases in distance learning benefit the majority in the same manner that it will benefit minorities who do not have the same access to computers and therefore do not have equivalent knowledge of how to use technology. Fears that access to technology would further discriminate against minority students were raised. Yet, participants also noted that the University and the state can use enhancement of education through technology to increase opportunities for students from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds.
TEACHING - Conclusions
Overall, student participants believe that information technology can be used to enhance classroom learning. They emphasized that technology be used to enhance rather than replace current pedagogy. They also pointed out that the University is in a position to direct and structure the kind of distance learning it will use in the future.
Participants explained that technology has been a useful part of research for years, yet it has its short-comings. Vendors of web-based source information cater to many groups of scholars. Consequently, the information they offer is basic and not as useful for the detailed studies taken up by UW’s graduate students. Participants felt that the technology as well as the information they sought was available, yet no company has attempted to merge the two. Students pointed out a couple of reasons for this. First, vendors frequently offer no outlet for feedback. Even if these channels were open, students believed their individual recommendations would not have as much weight with a company as those of the University. Someone suggested that the University take an active role in discovering the different needs of various disciplines in order to offer advice to vendors of web-based research tools.
Some student attendees expressed dismay at the demise of UWIN. They found it a helpful, in-house tool and believe that its disappearance indicates a deficiency on the part of the University to include student input in these decisions.
Participants pointed out that the available technology is still in an infantile stage. Vendors do not consult research librarians in the development of these sources, a factor which complicates both student and librarian use of these tools. Their technology is not adequately advanced to replace paper-based research tools; yet, these same sources are being phased out prematurely, according to student attendees. The usefulness of electronic sources is illustrated by the questionable permanency of on-line articles. What happens to these sources when the web-site is down, the technology changes, or the vendor goes out of business?
Overall students favor the advantages technological development will bring to higher education. Their discussion, as presented here, indicates that caution must also be exercised. The University, the state, and the HECB should not rush head-long into every new technological opportunity which presents itself. The University should strive to ensure that all interested parties participate in making decisions related to technology in order to ensure the best outcomes are achieved. As discussed here, technology in distance-learning, research, and mentoring can be best used when the university community evaluates both the advantages and disadvantages so that implementation will ensure a complimentary enhancement of higher education and not act as a replacement for it.
This talk was held on Saturday, April 1, 2000, at Kane Hall 120 and in overflow rooms on television screens, from 8-10 PM. The audience of nearly 700 included students, faculty staff and community leaders. In the first half of the conversation, Nader talked about the university education and citizenship participation, as well as problems that prevent full participation. After the keynote address, Lance Bennet, Margaret Levi and Miguel Bocanegra responded. The last hour was questions and answers
Conversation centered on the relationship between University education and citizen participation in a globalized world. Mr. Nader indicated that the University is one of three centers for production and dissemination of knowledge. He elucidated some of the problems in academia and then suggested solutions.
Frank Chopp , John Coulter, Dick Ford, Debra Friedman, Jerry Grinstein, James Keblas, Jack Lien, Shirley Palmer, David Thorud, Ron Woodard
Tuesday, March 28th, 2000
Key discussion points:
The dinner participants wanted it noted that there was a profound optimism about the future of the UW.
Recommendation for future discussions:
The discussion began with comments about the need for a University telecommuting policy. The PSO Board members present reported that Human Resources is developing such a policy and that the Board had already contributed feedback on a draft. It is expected that telecommuting will be an important part of University work life. Members of the audience stated that telecommuting would be especially helpful during maternity leave and would provide many with the opportunity to get work done without interruptions.
Issues discussed included:
Several staff expressed opinions that they do not like voice mail and that it prevents good communication between offices and creates a lot of telephone tag. One participant stated that voice mail offers the opportunity to create a lot of progress on important tasks without spending time on minor issues.
Staff and Administration:
Some present expressed concern that there was not more widely requested staff input on developing policies. Fred pointed out that HR had test groups for some policies like telecommuting and that staff are involved.
Personnel Policy & Practices:
People expressed concern that Professional Staff do not get incremental cost of living salary steps automatically and that raises are merit based. These raises stifle any growth that is possible without direct supervisory support. A bad supervisor therefore can have a devastating effect on the salaries of good staff.
Quality of Work Life:
Some staff felt that they are 2nd class citizens. There exists a lack of a sense of being part of the team. There is a lack of a sense of community at the UW.
Andrew Fry (Lariat Software), Bill Harrison (Mayor of Lakewood), John Idstrom (UWT Development), Martina Leonard (UWT Graduate Student), Wolfgang Opitz (Office of Financial Management), Victoria Osmanson (UWT Alum), Jill Purdy (UWT Faculty), George Russell (Frank Russell Company), Jane Russell (Frank Russell Company), Jason Schultz (ASUWT), Herb Simon (Simon Johnson, LLC), Pamela Transue (Tacoma Community College) and David Zeeck (Tacoma News Tribune)
Hosted by: Vicky Carwein, UWT Chancellor & Cindy Zehnder, Board
Facilitator: Marilyn Kliman, Conversation About the Future
Notes: Chris Knaus, Conversation About the Future and Board of Regents
Place: Herb Simon's
Date: March 13, 2000
Invited Opening Metaphors:
UWT is not the leading force that it could be.
Educational Mission of UWT
Is the mission of this campus tied to a focus on teaching critical thinking skills or preparing students for their places in local business and industry?
Liberal arts is the key foundation for critical thinking. Businesses can train, but need graduates coming in that are prepared to think. Do we want to produce graduates who can start their own businesses… have paid business internships for faculty? Can we do both business preparation and liberal arts/critical thinking?
UWT should offer e-learning for local business and industry; perhaps create a business club (like Stanford) where member businesses send employees for training. Expressed need to balance this with face-to-face learning, since we cannot teach critical thinking on-line or adequately develop communication, teamwork and other essential skills.
Future size and function of UWT
Research center (and four-year university) or two-year campus?
If research, we face the need to focus on solid business/applied-research partnerships as opposed to traditional academic research. Or do we want to concentrate on teaching to turn out critical thinkers?
An idea emerged for creating a unique place in the community alongside other educational institutions. What creative/unique opportunities exist for UWT to partner with neighboring community colleges?
The need for creating more of a campus feel was expressed. We need to take the special needs of unique student population into account in creating this.
What should the "marriage" look like between the city and UWT?
Provide service to community:
In all of this, we need to maintain our focus on non-traditional students.
The future is something that you do.
Hiemstra spoke about the vision of the future for higher education and for our society, cautioning that our vision of the future can influence what actually happens by conditioning the actions we take today. The three important questions we can ask?:
Hiemstra says we are in the middle of a cycle of change at least as significant as the one many of our grandparents experienced during a 30- to 40-year period around the turn of the 20th century. We are, he thinks, about halfway through a techno-economic revolution, and used the analogy of popcorn popping to demonstrate the pace of change with which we have been faced since the early 1970s.
The kernels started slowly popping in 1971 with the first commercial sale of the silicon chip. In 1974, Bill Gates and Paul Allen had an initial discussion in a Harvard dorm room that would lead to the development of Microsoft. The first Apple computer sold in 1977. Pop. IBM sold its first PC in 1981. Pop. Cellular telephones and fiber optics came of age during the 1980s. Pop. Pop. The World Wide Web burst onto the scene in 1993. Pop. Pop. Pop. And now, Hiemstra says, we are right at the point where all the popcorn begins popping at once. The timeline he described continued into the 21st century, covering everything from super-intelligent computers to a new concept of retirement. In fact, he said, the next 20-25 years could see as much change as that which occurred during the entire 20th century. When the transformation we are part of has finished (according to Hiemstra, when the popcorn falls over the sides of the bowl and then stops), "everything will have changed." Perhaps most strikingly he predicts that humans will cease to be the most intelligent things on earth. Computers will have that distinction
The future will be most influenced by developments in digital technologies, bio-technologies and nanotechnologies (the study of how things work at the atomic and molecular levels). We'll see changes in almost every phase of life, including significant changes in society's demographic makeup. The number of people age 65 and older will go from 342 million in 1992 to 2.5 billion in 2050. Currently, in Washington state, 10 percent of the population is 65 or older. By 2020 almost 25 percent of the state's population will be at least 65 years old. That change will totally alter the final phase of life. Retirement, a concept created in the 20th century, will likely disappear. Instead of retiring, elders will slow down, work less, work at new things, enjoy some leisure and continue to engage in income-producing work. Hiemstra said he also expects significant changes in the workplace, at home, in government and in education.
Employment - Jobs will gradually become less than half of employment, replaced by stints
|20th Century||21st Century|
|Fixed Time & Place||Asynchronous, Moving|
|Static and Secure||Scary Opportunities|
|One Size - Full Time||Many Options|
|Pay per Scale||Pay for Perf / Ownership|
|Passive Customers||Militant Customers|
|Technical OR Personal||Technical AND Personal|
|Changes are Slow||Fast and Flexible|
Retirement -- an invention of the 20th century is soon to be replaced. In 1900, the life span was 47, today those reaching 65 can expect to live to 85, and expected changes in biotechnology may extend that for 20 or more years. We can
Home -- Once the center of life, home is now where we eat one meal a day, sleep, and store our possessions. But that is changing. Increasingly people are telecommuting and developing businesses out of the home -- the home is gradually returning to its multi-functionality from decades ago.
Government -- There is increasing disillusion with government as an arbiter of social problems. A movement toward private, non-profit solutions to problems that government typically dealt with.
Education -- It will have to change with the rest of society. Hiemstra warned that the status quo ("the way we do things around here") is becoming obsolete or is likely to become obsolete in the next few years. The challenge for any institution, but specifically in education, is to identify what we're going to move from and what we're going to move to, and praised President McCormick's vision to have this Conversation About the Future.
|20th Century||21st Century|
|Fixed Time & Place||Not space and time bound|
|Distance OR Local||Distance and local blur|
|Place bound accreditation||New accrediting processes|
|Education Time Periods||Just in Time learning|
|Classroom learning||More Web Utilization|
|Passive Learning||Interactive Learning|
|Academic Institutions||Academic and Business|
|Changes are Slow||Rapid change, flexibility|
Hiemstra said he expects education to be a lifelong process with more fluidity between school and work. The number of college-aged students will increase to 15-20 million by 2010, which could flood existing college campuses. To adapt, universities will rely more and more often on the technology used today for distance learning. Traditional classrooms, bound by space and time, will diminish. At the same time, cyberlearning will increase. Classes will be conducted via the Internet.
But planning for this change won't be easy, according to Hiemstra. "I've discovered that, with the possible exception of health care, universities are probably the most complex environment in which to have a good conversation about the future," he said. "There are so many possibilities, such rich tradition, so many alternatives for the future. It's complex."
Balance Teaching and Research
Some faculty do not want to teach, and perhaps they shouldn’t have to if they won’t be great at it. Perhaps offer teacher training (in Ph.D. program at least)?
Preparation for Industry
Not all students are graduating with skills needed to excel at entry level jobs; we need more internship opportunities.
Curriculum is too rigid
Broaden the Focus
While the depth of opportunities to learn about and focus on the Northwest abound, the College could also broaden the scope and offer support and resources to those whose interests span beyond the Northwest.
Regent Chin and Mrs. Chin, Mike and Lynn Garvey (Lynn is involved with Ryther Child Center), Don and Melissa Nielsen (Don is VP of the Seattle School Dist.), Doug Wheeler Director (Zion Preparatory Academy), Joan Dore (Seattle Public Schools), Rudy Crew, Heather Gould (W. WA ed undergrad), John Medina (Asst. Provost), Julia Peyton ( 3rd year PhD in Special Ed), Louise McKinney
Date: March 8, 2000
Facilitator: Maureen Marcenko (Social Work)
Notes: Marilyn Kliman
The group sat in a living room setting for the first two hours of conversation, then continued for the next hour over dinner. Mr. Chin introduced the topic as an issue in need of ‘preventive medicine’ versus the standard ‘band-aid’ treatment. Education is essential as an agent to lift children up out of poor circumstances; more so than any other assistance that can be provided over the course of a lifetime. Without education, the society will perpetuate and increase the ‘have-nots’ who then drain resources from all of us. Preschool reading skills are the foundation of learning and comprehension. What can we do for the future in this regard?
The Facilitator presented the format for the conversation, which was to discuss: Problem, Cause, Magnitude, Impacts and Solutions.
Today's school system does not educate children to literacy, looking at K-12 as a container with a beginning and end. Should be an on-going process throughout a lifetime. Insufficient funding creates reliance on old ways of teaching that do not address the knowledge we now have about early development of the brain.
Huge variance in how pre-schoolers enter the system -- all 5 year olds do not have the same skills or abilities but are treated the same. Some can already read, others are unaware of what an alphabet is. More than 50% of Seattle Public School children are on the downside. Twenty-five percent of Seattle preschoolers score at 35% or lower on reading ability. Much discussion ensued about Seattle statistics and the correlation between poverty and performance. It was agreed that our current system of allotting funds was not good.
The idea was introduced that oral skills may influence success as much as reading skills. Use of language skills should be emphasized. This, like reading, is greatly impacted by parental involvement and ability. Discussion about the importance of reaching parents as well as children.
It was agreed that the most skilled teachers are needed at this age level, regardless of what particular abilities are emphasized. A problem is that low pay produces low expectations from teachers and minimally educated caretakers of these children in general. Childcare services would be a way to reach these children and their parents before they are even in preschool. Parents are a source of problem and an opportunity for relief. Parents should understand how able children are from birth, and what an opportune time it is to begin their education. Early language deprivation, for instance, can put a child at a disadvantage from the outset. Parental willingness and other factors may make this unrealistic.
Regardless of parental participation, pre-school is an opportunity to get to all children. Highly skilled teachers are an unarguable key to bettering the opportunity for all preschoolers. This is linked to getting sufficient funding to pay for the increased skill level. Welfare reform has created a large pool of latchkey children and a lot of neglected, angry children. This makes teaching even more challenging.
Summarized -- We have a huge problem defined by a lack of oral and reading skills tied together. Society is currently ducking responsibility by underfunding and ignoring the problem. Ultimately, it should be noted, any increase in funding for a preschool reading program would pay back handsomely over time with savings in funding for remedial programs, welfare programs and the benefits of a better educated work force in general.
These "neglected" students become the "least, locked out and locked up" in our society. They remain a 'political football' for their lifetimes. Eighty percent of first graders at the bottom of their class are still at the bottom by grade four. The assumption can be made that this early failure indicator will be predictive for the rest of their lives.
Allowing these children to fail is unacceptable and addressable with: political will, more full day kindergartens, more physical space for smaller classes, more and better educated teachers (enough for one-on-one tutoring).
The issue arose once again of the power of parents in the equation. Access to them and willingness are serious obstacles. Headstart program was an effective tool in this regard, getting parents involved in a family-focused program. There were some who used Headstart as childcare, without being actively involved themselves, but overall this was a positive thing anyway since children brought their energy from the program back into the home.
There is high correlation between academic accomplishment and civility - producing poor students also produces poor citizens. Manners are a byproduct of literacy, so is mental and physical health as they are so highly impacted by self-confidence.
Functionally illiterate children have no economic opportunity, so remain low-level consumers rather than contributors in any meaningful way.
There is insufficient nation-wide focus of our society’s strongest institutions (higher education, medical community, mental health professionals) on these children. There is also a lack of connection between studies that identify the situation and the application of funding to the problems. There is no singular resource for organizing the impact on our classrooms.
The roots of the problem in school are in the de-evolution in really caring about children altogether in our society. We need to figure out the basics all over again and realize the need for community investment in our "fractionalized village."
Although much time, effort and funding have gone into multiple programs and attempts to improve the system for preschoolers, this energy has been too dissipated to be effective. No universal/national system has been conceived to address the big picture.
Within this context, what should we be doing as a country and as a University?
What is literacy?
Education is largely about the brain and its capacity. The brain can be a powerful framework for looking at education, in that:
We need to change structures and relationships. There is information to be gleaned from the proliferation in the business world of mergers and acquisitions. K-12 has no formal relationship with pre-school and childcare programs. There is no way at present for an individual to easily connect to lifelong learning. We need to create a crystallized program with a broadened continuum of education.
Learning is messy and active, and current schooling models insist that children conform to an inefficient and inappropriate structure. Learning works best as an exploratory process, but is being confined to a passive experience. Vast effort exists to try and turn off excitement about learning and funnel children through proper channels.
It is agreed that the problem is huge, impacts are significant, and solutions are available. What are small, beginning and real steps we can take? The UW has a leading role to play in defining the problem and working with the school system to develop solutions that can be implemented. Teachers should know how the brain works to maximize the potential of children. Daycare workers should have PhDs, and with a small amount of resources, we would produce huge results. Getting the University involved at the preschool level may also provide a long-term solution to diversity issues on campus; creating a more diverse pool of qualified local students.
Is there a formal or informal way to make it more universally understood what price we pay by ignoring the problem? How can we mandate that parents bring children to the library for X number of hours per week? Can we set up reading circles for all children with volunteers? If learning is exploratory, then our organizations need to be as fluid to address, with our own engagement active and exploratory.
Solution Idea: create a "Memorandum of Agreement" to try 5 things in our lowest performing schools:
Once this Memorandum of Agreement is created, use the University's students as teachers, providing in-service training and give credits for that training. Create a curriculum that addresses training for parenthood. Raise or access funds to support this, including involving corporate sponsors. Use existing programs, like Headstart for support. Create literacy centers with games that involve sentence structure, story telling and writing skills. Create a pre-K class within the College of Education as a training center and a model for proper curriculum. Cooperate with junior colleges to offer Early Childhood Education, encouraging formal training as a requirement for care providers.
Will this serve the disadvantaged? A curriculum needs to be developed in relation to this for the entire south shore, supported by UW. This would change the complexion of those schools from this day forward to "take off the handcuffs and open up the door" for those students. Don Nielsen has spoken with Mayor Schell about creating this focus on pre-school in a disadvantaged neighborhood. We need dialogue to craft the notion that education begins at birth and continues to the grave, and get resources allocated.
Our system is specifically not set up to effectively deal with the way the brain learns. A good mission for the UW would be to craft a vision of what an education system should look like. This raises the issue of cross-departmental learning here at the UW, for example, Pediatrics and Adolescent medicine should have a part in teacher training at the College of Education. We should design, create and pilot a program to make education "work." It was suggested that McCormick, Olshefsky, Schell and Crew need to meet and take steps for major change after notes are distributed.
We assume that the youngsters we are addressing are about 35% of the pre-school population. They are likely poor children of color and special education children. We need to take dead aim at that population and establish a UW literacy campaign with the public schools. We should aim to reduce the population we need to target to 10% of pre-schoolers over the next 5 years.
Seattle school board decided last summer that their first goal is literacy, and that 90% of the 1999 Kindergarten class will be reading at grade level by 3rd Grade. They are behind children getting tutoring, an enlarged summer school program, reorganization of schools, a longer day and a longer year, with children’s performance measured on a more regular basis. Reminder that some things already exist that we may be able to refocus or build on.
The public schools will get some focused, targeted and measurable help, and the UW gets to help children who will eventually be students here.
Foster Critical Think Skills. One needs to be able to think critically in engineering and needs to be able to think about ethics and responsibility, particularly in civil engineering. There are enormous industry pressures, yet students are not taught to look critically at the purposes and nature of the work they do.
K-12 Connections. Need to support K-12 teaching of basic foundations in computer science, physics, and math.
Lack of Diversity. There is a significant lack of diverse
representation throughout the college. The culture of engineering says to
think outside of the box, yet most students think similarly because they
come from similar backgrounds. Need to expand the student and faculty
pools to be able to foster outside-of-the-box thinking. It is also
difficult being the only type of person in many courses (e.g. the only
woman, the only Native American), as that puts extra added pressure on the
individual who might think outside of the box.
Also need to rethink admissions criteria, which focus almost entirely on grades. This does not measure out-of-the-box thinking.
Continuing and Corporate Education. Need to expand the curriculum of continuing education programs. Also could move into contract education with local industry to provide collaborative partnerships in education (i.e. UW and IBM working together to educate UW students and IBM employees).
Increase Undergraduate Research Opportunities. There are very few research opportunities available for undergraduates, and the opportunities that are available are not publicized.
Lack of Resources. Undergraduate students do not have sufficient access to computers. Graduate students often must share resources with too many other people.
Integration of Technology into the Curriculum. UWired is an excellent support, but it is mainly used for outside the classroom. Need more support for the classroom support services to maintain in-class technology (overhead projectors). There is also a huge disparity in classroom support services between sciences and humanities.
Foster Critical Thinking Skills. These skills should be an essential component of the entire educational experience. Universities should prepare citizens through the teaching of critical thinking skills.
Size Matters. The College is simply too large. Cohesiveness and collaboration become extremely difficult.
Increase Student Access to On-Campus Events. Non-UW performances need to be discounted to facilitate student attendance. A student rate would send a message that the UW caters to students as well as to off-campus people.
Diversity was raised as an issue from several angles, with a consensus that both their school experience and their effectiveness as social workers were compromised by the current lack. Other issues which also may be obstacles to creating more diversity were lack of flexibility within the school regarding class schedules (not enough night courses), tuition restrictions, admission based on GRE, course content and design and a lack of connection to other disciplines.
Students felt that cross-departmental coursework and greater interdisciplinary freedom were necessary to both attract more students and prepare them for work in the real world. They expressed concern that they did not know enough beyond theory to be of greatest benefit to their eventual clients. This thread has arisen in multiple conversations, and generally relates to whether the schools are actually making students prepared for their universally expressed interest in making what they do for a living matter. Social justice concerns are often tied to this issue.
Keith Benson (Medical History & Ethics):
Many times science is not attempting to produce technology, nor are the humanities attempting to produce judgment. The fruits may be technology or judgment, but the basic quest is for knowledge.
Science needs the humanities and vice versa. From about 1876 through 1950 the humanities were ascendant and the arguments were made to defend the sciences. However, around 1957 and the beginning of the space race, the balance shifted and science came into the ascendancy. The national priority can be seen in the funding differences between the National Science Foundation and National Humanities Foundation.
The connection between the sciences and the humanities is of critical importance. Undergraduate education does not and should not be expected to prepare students for a job; it should prepare them for a life of learning. Sciences and the humanities are the core of the liberal arts and we need both to help us think, speak, write, calculate, work with spatial relationships and deal with the world.
Is there a possibility of redress to this situation? Yes--Harvard, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, and Michigan State have all maintained a liberal arts core. For it to happen here requires dedicated and decisive leaders, appropriate teaching requirements (large classes are not conducive to this focus), and interdisciplinary activity must be supported.
At this University there are several models for success: the Comparative History of Ideas Program (CHID) and the proposed Science of History and Technology program.
Bruce Margon (Astronomy) :
He accepts that the sciences need the humanities. What good is a scientific discovery if only scientists are there to hear it? So the other side of the question is do the humanities need the sciences?
Reasons the humanities do not need the sciences:
Maynard Olson (Genome Center and Medicine, Medical Genetics) :
What is the nature of liberal studies? Science and technology is an alliance that makes societal change. They provide the organization of knowledge. There is a dichotomy in human knowledge between the quest for principles (that apply all the time) and a historical view of the world.
Perhaps we should rework the curriculum to embrace a historical view, however the key will be to get it in the right time scale. The University could adopt the Million-Year Curriculum. How did we get from there (the ice age) to now? This curriculum would intrinsically blend science and humanities. It would compel us to think more about how all disciplines can be integrated.
Andrea Woody (Philosophy) :
How can we make good judgements about technology when the designers don't have trained judgment and policy makers don't understand science and technology?
The goals of a liberal arts education:
Maybe this isn't the right question (does x need y)--too often there appears to be a need to justify the humanities. We need to grapple with what the value of each part of the University is to the internal goals of the academy. We need to determine how all parts fit together.
David Hodge (Dean, Arts & Sciences):
He was surprised that the panelists had not brought up issues of ethics, since they figure so prominently in both the humanities and the sciences these days.
The audience participation fell into four general areas:
Regarding the recent attacks on affirmative action in the United States, Mr. Cose said he has been surprised by the diligent pursuit of something to take its place. Many students who are opposed to affirmative action, out of a belief that it is unfair, still like the results. There were initial drops in the numbers of minority students at institutions where affirmative action has been banned, but now reports indicate that the numbers are rising. The attack on affirmative action has come at a time when it has been fairly clearly demonstrated that it works in a university setting. For example, data from several prominent universities showed that students who have been admitted to a university as a result of affirmative action typically do very well; in some cases, better than whites admitted to the same institution. Affirmative action is really only an issue at elite institutions where all applicants are not admitted.
In the '60s, it was impossible to deny that blacks were disadvantaged, and it was possible to believe that, with modest efforts, things could be changed. Now it is easier to believe that this is not a systemic societal issue, and that perhaps the problems lie within the people themselves, so there is nothing more to be done. People are tired of the unfairness of preferences being given to groups of people. In our society, with heroes such as Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey, it is possible to believe that equality can be attained on its own merits.
The U.S. is changing regarding its attitudes toward diversity. Interracial marriages are increasing, and by the year 2040 or 2050 it is predicted that we will have a majority minority nation. We've also learned that racial categories change over time. Mr. Cose thinks we are moving toward a situation similar to that of Brazil, where individuals are migrating between power groups, based in part on perceptions of color. In Brazil, 90 percent of the people are black, but, in the census statistics, 4 percent claim to be black, 40 percent claim to be brown, and the majority claim to be white. At least one implication is that it is very difficult for blacks in Brazil to organize.
In terms of what this means for a university, we are faced with the challenge of finding a way to respond to the inequality of society. We need to develop a way to address the injustice of slavery without blaming individuals. Part of the answer to this challenge can be found in redefining merit. Mr. Cose believes that the University is faced with a large task, to determine why it is more difficult for minorities in this society to achieve. It is due, in part, to economic realities and cultural preconceptions, but there is an unknown "X" factor. We don't yet understand why, for example, members of the black middle class generally do not do as well on indices of achievement as members of the white middle class. We are challenged with breaking the linkage between race and destiny. We must also remember that progress cannot be achieved without cost.
Mr. Cose closed his presentation by addressing a number of questions posed by members of the audience, including: how medical schools can retain diverse student bodies, given their current application processes? How to combat the attitude held by many people that affirmative action is just reverse discrimination? How can we continue to attract a diverse pool of applicants when we can no longer use race in the application process?
The questions were: "What is worth knowing?" and "What conditions must exist (what conditions must we change) in order for a liberal education to prevail?"
There were a variety of comments, but many seemed to focus around the ideas that it is important for students to learn to love learning and to be tolerant (of ideas and people), and that the University needs to develop into a place where that can happen.
There were several recurring themes:
Although the audience reached no conclusions, there was a sense that simply asking the questions and engaging in debate is part of what the University is all about.
Americans equate University study with career preparation and gain of employable skills. This is the primary driver for society’s support of the university as an institution.
Economic values are important; knowledge is important; but they are not all that matters. It’s equally essential to reassert the academic community’s role and responsibility in developing civic or democratic capital in our society, which was the subject of Dr. Schneider’s talk. Academic personnel’s job is to make the public aware of the university’s total role in society. We want students both prepared and inspired to take responsibility for the vitality of a democratic society.
Looking at some of the issues another country’s universities are facing may give a clearer picture of where we are ourselves. In South Africa, the universities are facing apartheid legacies. How do they teach students to create meaningful equality? How do they give them values to help them become future leaders? Economic development is important, but heart and value are vital.
The U.S. has unfinished work in overcoming race separation and hierarchy. We share with South Africa that our white population is better educated, better housed, healthier and hold more powerful positions in business and government. Our situation is not the same as South Africa, but neither is it fundamentally different. For instance, Washington D.C. is divided sharply by race, and social opportunity--people of color are dramatically less well off. Students of color are prepared by universities for lives socially inferior to whites. Neighborhoods are more racially and economically striated than they were in the ‘60s. Public schools are more racially segregated than they were 50 years ago, when it became illegal.
A second set of challenges: even well educated people don’t know very much about the different ethnic and religious traditions which constitute our society, even with our new consciousness of our growing diversity. Our country has been shaped by the struggles of minorities and women to achieve equal access to our democratic freedoms. Our feelings and definition of democracy have been directly affected, even driven by the brilliant vision and moral accomplishments of our civil rights and women’s movements. Yet books continue to pour off university presses contending that the new attention in the curriculum to women and minorities is subverting rather than strengthening the quality of our colleges and universities.
A third set of challenges--our global power gets us into stands for and against other democratic governments and regimes. How well are students being prepared to deal with cultural conflicts resulting from very different values, etc., generally resulting from unexamined beliefs of perceived rights and entitlements? It is the mark of our times; an age where we are experiencing powerful processes of global integration and mass movement. And even as these movements bring people into new connections, at the same time there is a movement against it, so we witness a resurgence of ethnic and national, religious and cultural separatism reacting against these new connections. Very often, new democratic societies are interested in homogenous democracies--they see rights and equality for people like themselves. This collides with countries that are at least nominally dedicated to a pluralistic democracy. How well are we prepared to engage the conflicts between a country that wants only to share blood ties and an ethnic history? Pluralistic democracy draws its strength and its people literally from all parts of the world. It is a continuing struggle to create democratic societies that value diversity rather than fear it. Our fundamental moral challenge is to create viable democratic societies throughout the globe that are seen as a resource and not as a threat. Is the university having the conversation it needs to have about what it means to take responsibility for the long-term viability of a diverse democracy?
Americans characteristically define democracy as a political system of government. Democracy is the organizing principles of a society. Liberty, dignity, voice, equality, and justice; shared commitments that make life worthwhile. In pluralistic societies, democratic principles and practices apply not only to individuals but to communities.
Diversity is the newest chapter in the history-long debate in the American struggle over what it means to espouse commitments to such values as human dignity and equality. Many Americans deliberately choose to ignore diversity and treat everyone as "individuals." This argument invites us to overlook a vital part of each other’s identity. Poet and activist Adrienne Rich said, "When those who have the power to name and to socially construct reality choose not to see or hear you...when someone with the authority of a teacher...describes the world and you are not in it, there’s a moment...as if you had looked in a mirror and had seen nothing there." Recognition of who we are and where we come from is not just a courtesy but absolutely necessary.
The university’s goal is engaging diversity as a fundamental democratic commitment, not just acknowledging that it exists.
Take active steps to undo racist history:
Follow-up with respondents:
Professor Neil Koblitz offered specific examples of how he has incorporated diversity into some of his mathematics courses. He feels that working with children of diverse races helps dispel preconceived stereotypes. Professor Koblitz’s question about the downside of a diversity requirement was, "Can we catch up with a university like Arizona State University (which requires global cultural diversity courses) by requiring more from our students (which means beefed-up writing requirements and global cultures courses as well as cultural diversity courses)? Or is the political necessity of increasing four-year graduation rates an insurmountable object to doing this?"
Professor Susan Jeffords felt we need to look at the role universities have played in perpetuating racial divisions. Faculty generally don't know that their own teaching methodologies create problems--being exclusionary, etc. Is the teacher's methodology the right way to teach/solve problems? Teachers and students should be able to ask themselves why they are using the methods they employ and whether they are indeed the best way to answer the question.
How is the university structured to create and perpetuate precisely the subject matter that is problematic? It's in that context we need to rethink the general education requirements at the university. Can we design general education systems geared not toward a particular requirement here and a particular requirement there, but instead a set of requirements that generate critical thinking? That should be our goal in the first two years as educators. Students will then take that perspective into classrooms of the upper division and into their own studies as majors, thereby creating a very unusual climate throughout the university. If we can infuse this quality of critical thinking throughout the entire general education requirements and think of that as an outcome, then we’d have a very different notion of how to introduce students to the university and to diversity.
Current Program Deficits
Inadequate amount of training is given in clinics. Nurses need more hands-on more hands-on learning experiences. At the same time, there is a need for teaching critical thinking skills. Facts are put before them and absorbed, but the there is industry pressure to provide ability to think on their feet - something which will come with experience but which they are lacking when they first hit the floor. This is compounded by the nursing shortage - so undergrads need more critical focus.
In the field, all interactions are interdisciplinary as nurses usually do not work alone. Technicians, physicians, therapists, etc., are all part of a care delivery team. There is no exposure to these other disciplines for students, much less any understanding developed of their needs.
We need better training to interact with diverse clientele, and we need more diversity in the nursing field itself. Here an understanding of diverse populations can make a big difference in quality of care delivered, and there is no attention to it. Also needed - to address broadening the pipeline to create a more diverse faculty. More outreach to the community would create a more welcoming opportunity for minorities. Admissions criteria need to expand to address merit in other ways. Also, the absence of any child care options limits student participation.
Need to do more outreach by providing money or freeing up student time. This could be incorporated into the curriculum and be valuable in more than one way. There exists a lack of adequate information on involvement opportunities, and almost no mentoring opportunities - student to community or student to faculty in the community. The curriculum must mirror student body diversity.
Strengthening the Relationship between Academia and Industry:
During the discussion it was noted that we are at a unique time historically to explore building more collaborative relationships between academia and the burgeoning biotechnology industry. In many instances, the knowledge in industry, especially in the area of developing new technologies, is ahead of that available at the UW. Industries are creating a wealth of data of relevance to public health, yet much of this information is not exploited fully. Ideally, mutually beneficial collaborations between academia and industry should be developed to ensure maximal public health and social (including economic) benefits from this tremendous investment. But how ca we work together to be as effective as possible to find new ways of doing things. It was noted that there is a mystique among many faculty about what exactly goes on in companies, and uncertainty about how to ‘link up’ with specific people and projects in the biotechnology industry. Certainly a first step in this direction includes activities- such as this reception- that provide an opportunity for individuals from these two ‘worlds’ to mix. The idea of focus groups between biotech and university scientists was brought up (see below), and efforts in this area have already begun. Another suggestion was to develop a series of topic- oriented symposia or workshops involving both the biotechnology industry and public health scientists that would offer a fun, science driven, forum for meeting people. It was suggested that we should get the state of Washington more involved. Dr. Penhoet noted that the State of California has a program that provides matching funds for some joint academia-industry research projects. Continued support from the legislature of the Advanced Technology Initiatives program developed in the previous biennium might be expanded.
Following the reception, several Public Health faculty interested in building collaborations with the biotechnology industry identified some practical questions, such as: How can the School and/or University help individual faculty researchers find commercial partners to develop or bring to market new drugs or treatments developed in the University setting? How can the School or University help the faculty researchers in dealing with companies to obtain material or intellectual transfers in either direction? How can researchers deal with multiple combination drugs or treatments when they may be owned individually by different companies? This is a major problem with the new genome-sequencing project where companies using just the sequence may already patent undiscovered genes. While these issues fall in large part to the University’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT), much of the initial ‘groundwork’ for developing such academia-industry collaborations needs to be established by the investigator.
While there seems to be enthusiasm for academia and the biotechnology industry to work together, the Legislature, with passage of State ethics law, have made such relationships very difficult. Industry and UW need to go together to explore how the state Ethics law might be modified to make it easier for academia-industry relationships to grow (while still maintain proper ethical guidelines for conduct and avoidance of significant conflict-of-interest).
Creation of Focus Groups that include participants from both industry and academia:
Dr. Penhoet mentioned in his discussion that faculty and scientists external to the school established ‘focus groups’ around specific topics of mutual interest. The primary example he used was getting people with common interests in vaccines and vaccine development together. Penhoet and colleagues identified all people in Bay area who were interested in vaccines. From this Conferences on vaccines and infectious diseases having international impact were planned, and grant and investment dollars are being sought to explore collaborative opportunities. It was suggested that we identify topic areas such as this that are of mutual interest between faculty in the School of Public Health and biotechnology companies to bring people together to explore collaborative opportunities that are mutually beneficial.
Recently, the Public Health Sciences Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center began a new "Affinity Group on Genetic Epidemiology Methods and Microarray Technologies." The group was originally limited to FHCRC faculty, but the current members felt that the group should be open to all interested investigators to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among investigators within the Seattle area. This is an excellent example of the focus group concept discussed by Dr. Penhoet, and hopefully will help in building new research relationships between public-health-science researchers in academia and interested biotechnology industry scientists.
Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI) related to the use of genetic/genomic information:
During the panel discussion, it was mention that the biotechnology industry must become more proactive in addressing "ELSI" issues that surround public perception about new technologies. As an example, the public relations problem that has surrounded Monsanto in their efforts to market genetically modified foods was mentioned. While the technology has worked well and has provided them with potentially useful products, consumer fears over genetically modified foods have devastated the market for their products, for which billions of dollars were invested in development. Companies will need help in convincing the public to deal with the ethical and social issues of the new technology. The School of Public Health has a new academic program entitled, "Public Health Genetics in the Context of Law, Ethics and Policy." A mutually beneficial collaboration between Faculty and students in this program and biotechnology companies with specific interests and concerns related to technology-drive ‘ELSI’ topics could be mutually beneficial. UW must help pharmaceutical industry solve ethical and social issues around the development of new drugs and ‘geneceuticals’. For more information on the UW program in Public Health Genetics, see their website, or contact the Director, Dr. Melissa Austin, (206-616-9286 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Nutrition and Diet as Important Modifiers of Health and Response to Therapeutics:
During the panel discussion, this topic was identified as another area in which collaborations between biotechnology companies and School of Public Health faculty could be mutually beneficial. As scientists begin to unravel how gene expression is regulated by external factors, both nutrient and non-nutrient components of the diet will be identified as important modifiers. Thus, subtle alterations in gene regulation through dietary factors may play important roles in modulation of disease susceptibility, development and therapy. Modification of drug metabolism and disposition via diet and nutrition is already well recognized. Faculty in the School of Public Health’s interdisciplinary Nutritional Sciences program and faculty in the molecular toxicology program in the Department of Environmental Health are involved in numerous NIH-funded research projects exploring how diet and nutrition can modify gene regulation, drug metabolism and a variety of other mechanisms that may have important effects on disease susceptibility, development and therapeutic treatment. One specific example of areas of possible collaboration is in the development and use of expression arrays to identify complex responses to dietary factors. From such research molecular targets for possible nutrient and/or drug therapy may be identified. For more information, see the Nutritional Sciences website, or contact Dr. Adam Drewnowski, Director, Nutritional Science Program, 206-543-8016,Box 35341, email@example.com.
Training of Current and Future Employees of the Biotechnology Industry:
Consistent with the role of the University of Washington as a key resource for education and training of the next generation of scientists, the School of Public Health is eager to participate in the training of both current and future employees of the biotechnology industry. The Department of Pathobiology is in the early stages of developing a new Master’s of Science degree in Biotechnology, and this will require input from the biotechnology community. In addition, it has been suggested that the School of Public Health work closely with a variety of biotechnology industries to provide ‘internship’ or ‘practicum’ experiences for graduate students interested in careers in the biotechnology industry. As many of our students have very strong backgrounds in molecular biology as well as epidemiology and biostatistics, the inclusion of internships in the biotechnology industry during their training could prove to be a ‘win-win-win’ situation for the School, the student, and the biotechnology companies that participate. The School benefits by identifying much needed sources of funding to support graduate students during their training; students benefit by receiving ‘real world’ research experiences that will shape their future career development, and industry benefits by helping to build the next generation of employees with relevant education and experience. Obviously, the opportunity to directly evaluate the capabilities of future employees, and to have ‘first shot’ at recruiting talented graduates to their company in a very competitive market, should provide a great incentive for companies to explore internship programs with academia. For more information on this topic, contact: Dr. Ken Stuart, Chairman, Department of Pathobiology, 206-284-8846 ext 3160, 206-543-4338 Box 357238; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enhancing the Utilization of Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the Biotechnology
A key issue facing biotechnology companies as they bring their products to market is the completion of cost-effective, yet thorough, clinical trials necessary for approval of new therapeutics. During the discussion it was brought out that a reduction in numbers of people used in clinical studies is likely to be possible, with better statistical design, and perhaps in the future, with explicit recognition of genetically susceptible or resistant subgroups of people (to both efficacy and toxicity). It was noted that it is nearly impossible for existing pharmaceutical companies to make up for the number of drugs coming off patent with new products due to the costs and length of time necessary to complete clinical trials. How can the process be streamlined? Although the culture of academia and business are very different, there is a huge opportunity for epidemiology and biostatistics to help industry with their data analysis and study design. It was noted that the objectives of government, academia and industry are fundamentally different, but some participants commented that the value from more proactive collaboration is large and mostly untapped. Faculty in the School of Public Health and representatives of the biotechnology industry both expressed an interest in exploring how the Biotechnology industry might realize more value out of our existing clinical data, as well as how they might make future clinical studies more effective and efficient. To explore opportunities in this area, contact: Dr. Thomas R Fleming, Professor and Chairman Dept. of Biostatistics; 206-543-1044, Box 357232.
Anyone interested in exploring new opportunities in any areas noted above, or have additional ideas that would foster mutually beneficial collaborations between public health scientists and the biotechnology industry, should contact:
Dr. David L. Eaton
Associate Dean for Research
School of Public Health and Community Medicine
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
206-543-1144, e-mail: email@example.com
These were the questions that some 60 employees of the Development Services unit began to deliberate in a day-long strategic planning retreat on Friday, February 4, 2000. They are the questions that the staff will answer when the work they started on Feb. 4 culminates late this month with the creation of a Development Services Strategic Plan.
President McCormick helped set the stage for this effort when he addressed the group the morning of the retreat. Emphasizing the critical need for all University stakeholders to participate in meaningful conversations about the future, President McCormick challenged Development Services to examine their role in helping to improve the quality of life at the University and in the community. Lynne Becker, the Assistant Vice President who leads Development Services, also established the context for the group's strategic planning venture with an opening talk. With a moving story about the impact of a donor's gift on the lives of one Seattle-area family, Ms. Becker made the work of every Development Services employee come alive with this heartfelt example. Every data processor, every secretary, every computer technician, every event planner, every single staff member is a fundraiser, she said. By serving the needs of our customers - the Development Officers, Major Gift Officers, donors themselves, other employees within the unit - Development Services makes a dramatic impact not only on the University, but on people's lives.
These opening remarks led to a review of Development Services' progress and benchmarks over the past three years. Employees were given a glimpse of their outstanding achievements in the past to encourage them to achieve even more in the challenging years that lie ahead. Successes were detailed for each individual unit within Development Services - Donor Relations, Endowments, Information Management, Prospect Tracking and Research, Finance and Administration, Gift Processing and Records Management, Marketing and Communications, and International Advancement.
After reviewing progress from past years, attention turned to the future with the unveiling of Development Services' new vision, mission, purpose and values statements. A staff committee created the statements with input from everyone in Development Services. The vision statement seems particularly worth noting in this summary: "Development Services' ultimate vision is to maximize the University of Washington's capacity to provide superior education, conduct innovative research, and share its resources for the public good."
With the past clearly benchmarked and a vision for the future clearly stated, it next came time to examine the present. Staff had participated in several meetings within their own units to identify the "critical issues" confronting Development Services' work. These issues included technology, communications, growth, external forces, human resources, organizational processes and customer service. Everyone participated in identifying Development Services' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges relating to each issue. This "self-assessment" was followed by a review of the results of an informal survey of Development Services' customers, who frankly assessed what the unit does well and where it needs to improve.
Armed with information about the past and present and with a broad direction for the future, employees then began the important work of planning for that envisioned future. Staff members selected one of the seven critical issues that most interested them to form seven groups corresponding with the issues. These Critical Issues Task Forces were assigned to meet over the next six weeks to discuss the challenges related to their issue and to develop recommendations for effectively managing those challenges. This work will form the basis for the Development Services Strategic Plan, which will be shared with staff and stakeholders upon its completion in late March. Development Services' conversation about the future will lead to actionable strategies to help create a University for 2000 and beyond.
People who participated in this conversation about the future felt that currently the University is doing very well in the following areas:
Members of this conversation would like to see a future that involves:
Some of the issues Richard L. McCormick is focusing on include:
The members of this conversation felt that the UW and the UWAA could make a greater impact on social justice through offering more programming that relates to diversity and by attracting donors who want to give in the name of social justice.
It was suggested that the UWAA have more involvement within the K-12 institutions.
One main goal of the UWAA is to gain membership from all alumni of the University. The UWAA hopes to work with the various departments within the University to help promote membership and to attain this goal. The UWAA would like its alumni to move away from the attitude of "what do I get for my money?" and more towards a strong commitment to the UWAA to support its programming. One suggestion is to have the role of an alumni association member be more participatory than is currently required.
The UWAA compliments Richard L. McCormick on the progress he has made at the University throughout his presidency here.
Michael Leff began with a definition of liberation education, that it aims to be more than just a means to a material gain. There are less tangible needs, such as the need to teach students to be better citizens. There is a claim of intrinsic merit in liberal education.
There are two versions of liberal education: the philosophical and the oratorical. They are always in competition and each waxes and wanes. Through much of history the oratorical version has been the most prominent, but during the last century (with the rise in scientific education) the oratorical has moved into the background while the philosophical has become popular. It is only during the last two decades that the oratorical has begun to make a comeback.
One of the difficulties with having a strong philosophical version is the difficulty of providing some common educational experience when students do not have the same curriculum but can choose their own courses, and individualism is a core ideal. We are now in an age where accountability, the bottom line, and the student as consumer are strong forces.
The oratorical model may be a better model for education than the philosophical because it leads to elegance and appropriate expression. The object of oratorical rhetoric is to produce students who have the facility to adapt to varied situations; who learn acceptance and manage differences with a degree of respect. The oratorical perspective:
Liberal education gives students room to maneuver in the world. Students learn to think, not just to focus on immediate concerns and practical issues. The practical world keeps changing, so to focus only on that would mean eventual obsolescence. "Useless" subjects impart knowledge that is useful in practice and provides flexibility in mind and language.
Hazard Adams agreed with much of what Dr. Leff said. He gave several examples of strong rhetorical moments: a debate in Ireland about whether or not Columbus should have stayed home, and a dialectical controversy in graffiti about boys, girls, and grils. He indicated that many of the problems in liberal education now, are a product of the size of the university and the bureaucracy that goes with it.
Johnnella Butler expressed the idea that we now have an emphasis on individualism at the expense of community. The diversity of our student body requires that we abandon the European model and look at other possibilities. Violence is inherent in Cicero’s rhetoric as well as in modern rhetoric. We need to move from the truly useless (ethnocentrism) to more substance, including dealing with conflicting realities and multiple but connected humanity.
The audience participation brought up several different ideas, including:
Students summed up the positives of the Tacoma campus - a small, personable atmosphere and a unique niche in the community - before discussing the limitations that they see affecting the potential for the future of their campus. Limitations in both course offerings and the breadth of Majors and Minors were elements of opportunity for the future in striking a better balance between more curricula opportunity and maintaining a small, intimate size.
This led to an examination of the line between independence and autonomy. With a clear desire to benefit from being part of such a large institution, students felt it still would be possible to localize financial aid, create library partnerships with area schools so students do not have to go to Seattle and restructure technology fees and programs. A current concern for many students, childcare must be addressed for the future as it increasingly impacts underrepresented groups (older students, people of color, single parents). The Tacoma campus, generally attracting an older population of students re-entering the school environment, has a particularly pressing need in this area. Several options should be considered, including creating partnerships with local non-profits or community colleges as well as developing an Early Childhood Education or Child Psychology program to run child care on site.
Additional comments were made about the need to focus on community - about the unique opportunity available in Tacoma to make the campus a community cultural center. As one student put it, "We don't need to 'connect' to the community here as much as another campus might. We ARE the community. We live and work and own property - we'd just like to make UW Tacoma a community place for all of us."
Like most of the other Conversations, this one closed with students indicating the need for more discussions like this one, as well as conversations organized around putting the wheels in motion to solve specific issues for the future, such as childcare. Need campus-wide conversation and communication on how to do this.
But the University now has an uncertainty about its role. It is vital that institutions be clear about readjusting purposes in a time of great change; this is that time.
Academic reshaping occurred about a century ago and what emerged were hybrids-a combination of research and college (the idea of formative education).
Much of higher education still operates on this default paradigm. The academic exists to research and disseminate information for two reasons:
The term industry is now used in higher education. The measures of the University's role are coming from outside, not inside.
The leaders in business, government, etc. are graduates of higher education and are usually from prestigious ones. They have increasingly separated themselves through residence, children's’ education, etc. This can lead to a divided society. They seem to have forgotten they belong to the larger society. The higher education default paradigm has colluded in this destructive process. Similar problems affect other professions. We are becoming “winner take all society.” Economic growth hasn’t made everyone better off.
Sullivan used a comparison of higher education and journalism:
Efforts to make journalism more like business (melding news and advertising) have failed. At the core, it is a civic function, not a business.
Higher education is a similar hybrid. How well it will survive upcoming changes (e.g., University of Phoenix which is clearly business-like) depends on how it can appeal to public. Its students are not just consumers. There must be a reciprocal relationship between higher education and the public.
Today’s conflict in higher education is between managerial culture (developed in business) and collegial culture (like the guilds of medieval time). Look at medical schools to see examples of the “clash” between the two. Is the best care provided by entrusting the schools to the “guilds” (doctors, nurses, etc.) or to break them up and use corporate “employees”?
The worst feature of the collegial model is that after professors receive tenure you can’t do anything with them. However, the collegial model is better for higher education. At the core is the notion that professors serve society by having rational inquiry in specific areas.
Recovery of the university’s identity should be about recovery of its identity as a civic institution. Bring thought (practical reason) to bear upon life.
Christine DiStefano: This is a timely wakeup call. What is the University for? Part of the current crisis is that we haven’t created a public identify-people who see the university as a participant in a larger public realm.
Patterns in the university that reflect the outside economy send the wrong message to our students. There is not much collective sense of community (in the market drive internal university economy).
However, there is a possibility that if the University should ever take on its civic position it could confront difficult choices.
One model is college sports-wherein there is a component of entertainment. Universities have often promoted athletics as both campus unifier and good public relations.
The issues raised in audience participation had to do with:
We want to know a little about the mechanics of your conversation. What time frame did it encompass? Please indicate, to the best of your knowledge, who attended (faculty, students, staff, and/or community members) and give a brief description of the format (a panel discussion with audience Q&A, a roundtable discussion, interactive lecture, etc.).
This conversation took place over two hours in the evening. It was attended by students and faculty. There was a speaker, followed by two respondents and then opened for audience questions and comments.
William H. Gates:
Expressed misgivings about the conversation about the future process. The notion of singularity at the end of a mission or plan process seems grossly inconsistent with the institution. He wondered how this process will affect what the President does every day.
Students are here to get a degree so they can earn a higher salary than they would otherwise (students as customers). If that were the only goal, then the university would be different, but the other goal is advancing knowledge.
One important thing that the faculty and administration does is hire and promote. There is ambiguity among the tasks of teaching, research and service; at some point there has to be some decision as to which is the highest value and promote based on that.
Things to remember:
There were opinions expressed that
These conversations with staff on November 18 (Bothell), December 3 (Seattle) and December 16 (Tacoma), raised common issues with elements including, but not limited to, technology limitations, salary disparities, physical isolation and delivery/availability of support services and a lack of a sense of community within the UW. Evidence of a palatable schism between staff and faculty surfaced in several different guises. Additionally, a need to improve and expand student support services was a theme behind registration and course selection issues, support services for special populations, the burden of full-time-study requirements for financial aid, limited non-degree programs, and assistance accessing grants and loans.
Concerns about financial and funding futures were raised in relation to research grants, disparities between individual colleges and their ability to access funds, private versus government support, building sufficient physical spaces and rising costs of living (particularly in Seattle) without comparable increases in staff salaries.
Sufficient plans for advancement in administrative and educational technologies arose as a theme from multiple angles and staff members, including access, advancement and program offerings, such as providing distance learning.
Finally, campus diversity was shared as an area in need of immediate and long-term attention and planning, addressed as a moral concern, a staffing consideration and as an issue for better serving the community.
Inappropriate or insufficient student support services incorporated myriad of TA problems, orientation and registration confusion, and advisor empowerment frustrations. Students accept responsibility for their own education, but suggest system-wide benefit would result if these issues did not require the currently inordinate amount of time and effort. A recurring theme, the difficulty in navigating through course, department and major selection before it is too late"Taste of the U" program to expose students to a wide array of departments and majors.
Lack of community pride at UW was deemed as palpable. The perceived 'herd' mentality of classes listed as taught by 'staff,' enormous intro classes and 'weedout' math and science courses add to feelings of alienation. Students contrast this to the sense of community they left at home, and express resentment that sporting events appear as the only UW 'community' feel at present. Study Centers, where student networks are formed and where peer teaching/learning goes on, are very helpful. The issue of community heavily affects promotion of good citizenship. As one student expressed, "We feel our UW education should help us develop analytical reasoning, cultivate thinking, alternate ways of viewing things; help contribute to 'wholeness' and balance; help us to be open-minded; to learn to listen and to receive" as part of an integrated community.
Students share disappointment at the noticeable lack of diversity on campus. Some students perceive subtle racism in campus culture. Comments about the importance of addressing this issue reflected concerns about becoming sufficiently cosmopolitanto differing perspectives and cultures, as well as the educational opportunities that would arise from a more diverse student and faculty presence.
Students felt professors were sometimes obstacles to learning with outdated teaching styles (dubbed the "pulpit mentality"), inability to make expectations clear, and limited interaction with students, preferring to put TAs in the middle. An example of other obstacles, the impact of technology limitations was raised regarding completing coursework efficiently, the future of class registration and scholarship application.
Dr. Taylor suggests that Universities exist so that "big questions can be asked and big answers can be sought." Merge that suggestion with an assertion that cultural perspective dictates what questions will be asked and what answers will be found, and you have the core of Dr. Taylor’s urgency regarding finding equitable ways to guarantee diversity in education for the next century.
By the mid-21st Century, 80% of the workforce will be minorities and women. How do we reinvent the University to prepare this workforce? Affirmative action has been abandoned for a system of meritocracy, but what does merit mean? Who defines it and how? Can the current American cultural perspective which sees GREs and SATs as measures of merit be expected to produce a diverse student body and, thereby diversity in the workforce?
Promoting diversity is not just a good idea, it will soon become a cultural necessity as, by the mid 21st Century, minorities and women make up 80% of the workforce. The fundamental problem: everyone, not just minority affairs or individual people of color, needs to participate for systemic change to occur. We accomplish this at the University level through:
Strategies and Initiatives